Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, can cause a vast array of physical ailments including breathing difficulties, coughing, disorientation, eye damage, and brain fog, just to name a few. Due to its extremely toxic nature, it is essential that you learn how to prevent black mold growth in your home so that you can protect the health of you and your loved ones.
In order for it to become a problem, black mold first needs something to grow on (carpets, showers, wood, or just about anything else in your home will do), and moisture. Mold typically takes 24 to 48 hours to grow, so limiting the amount of time a surface is exposed to moisture and humidity is the most efficient and easiest way to prevent black mold growth. Opening windows throughout the day and turning on your bathroom’s ventilation fan after showering are effortless ways to keep your home properly aerated and thus greatly reduce the chance for mold to grow.
If you notice any recurring water damage or prevailing water leaks in your home, get them inspected and repaired immediately. Ignoring water that is pooling up or constantly dampening various surfaces in your home is asking for black mold to grow and quickly become a rampant problem. While it is understood that not everyone has access to emergency funds for water damage upfront, it is important to realize that allowing mold to become a problem will be more costly for your wallet and health down the line. Just take a deep breath, set aside some money from your next paycheck or take out what you currently have in savings, and get it taken care of now.
If something spills on the carpet, you come in soaked from the rain, or a considerable layer of snow has built up on the wall around your window and is beginning to melt its way inside, take care of these things immediately. Remember that moisture is one of the main culprits of mold growth, so it is important to nip it in the bud as soon as possible, in all circumstances. It can be tempting to head straight for the shower first or convince yourself you’ll get to it in a few minutes, but even that is risky. When you take care of problem areas immediately, you are able to more effectively remove more of the moisture, and you also eliminate any possibility of you accidentally forgetting about them (we are all human, after all).
Black mold can be scary and have damaging health consequences if left to its own devices. Luckily, preventing black mold growth is as simple as following the tips presented here. By limiting or preventing moisture altogether and promptly addressing water damage, you can help ensure you and anyone else in your home stay healthy and safe.
The biggest energy wasting substance on the planet is plastic. That’s right, plastic. For all the good that comes from plastic substances, it has more downsides than upsides.
The worst part about plastic is that it is made from petroleum. Gas, oil, and other fossil fuels are also made from petroleum, so every new piece of plastic further cuts into petroleum reserves.
On the upside of this equation is the fact that plastic is 100 percent recyclable. If everyone recycled all of their plastic goods, petroleum wouldn’t be needed to make new plastic. The unfortunate problem is that less than 20 percent of all plastics are recycled. The rest of it is thrown away and sent to landfills, which is a completely different problem all its own.
Plastic in landfills is not easily biodegradable. In fact, as the plastic begins to deteriorate, the chemicals used to make plastic leach out into the soil. As this happens, the soil around a landfill becomes akin to toxic waste, which is why no one wants to live near or around a landfill.
Plastic bottles and plastic grocery bags are the two main sources of plastic use. Once again, both the bags and the bottles are easily recyclable, but most of the time it is just a lot easier to throw them away in the regular trash than to separate them into individual containers. Consequently, the more plastic gets thrown away, the more energy is wasted to make more plastic.
Now, nobody can knock plastic as a useful substance. Plastic that has been used in the medical field has saved countless lives. Plastic is cheap and easy to mold, making it an incredibly versatile material. But plastic seems to be taken for granted, as though it is an infinite resource, yet that is the exact opposite of what it is.
Everyone can do their part to stop this waste of energy and raw materials.
Alternatives to Using Plastic
Here are two simple things that anyone can do, which is less expensive for the bank account, saves energy, saves petroleum products, and makes you feel good about doing it. Firstly, get a reusable grocery bag. There are many types out there, from canvas to nylon, and even heavy-duty plastic types that can be used for years. Using (and reusing) these is far better than getting new plastic bags every time you go to the store. In most cases, the reusable bags can be washed and dried with regular laundry, and they will be clean and good to go for the next shopping trip.
Another way to end plastic waste is to stop drinking bottled water and purchase an inexpensive faucet filter. Numerous studies have shown filtered tap water is as good as bottled water. Fill up your own bottles with filtered water, put them in the fridge to cool them down, and take them with you the next day. This is a huge money saver, as the cost of a water filter will pay for itself within a week or two, and it probably won’t need to be changed for months. Reusable plastic or aluminum bottles are available everywhere for about the same price as one 16-ounce bottle of “designer water.”
Stop wasting energy the plastic way. There are easy, money-saving alternatives to the plastic lifestyle, and they all begin with you.
Have you ever dreamed of having a clutter free household? Perhaps having a little extra time and money on your hands? Now ask yourself this: Have you ever thought that minimalism might be the step you need to take in your life to get all three? Many have discovered the wonderful benefits that a minimalist lifestyle can bring. And though the minimalist lifestyle may not be for everyone, you might want to check out if some of these advantages might be for you!
Once you’ve tossed most of your unused and unnecessary clutter you’ll begin noticing areas of your house you haven’t seen in a while. With all those old shoes gone you might get a glimpse of your closet floor. All that shelving you installed in the garage last year? Now you really can appreciate the handiwork and effort you put in! While it may be difficult to part with some of your stuff, you’ll come to realize that less of it laying around will mean more space for you.
Guess what you don’t have to do when you don’t have excess things sitting around? You don’t have to spend your time cleaning them! If you’re trying to keep a tidy household you’ll save yourself tons of valuable time if you’re not having to pick up every single thing sprawled across your counter tops or dusting objects lying around on shelves. Each odd and end you have to move or pick up during vacuuming is just adding to the numerous hours you’ve already lost over the years to these chores.
If all your clutter was once cash and if time means money think of what you’ll be saving when you switch to minimalism? That’s right! The more you emphasize that “window” in “window shopping” the more change you’ll keep in your pocket! One of the great things about minimalism is how much you save when you’re not buying extra, unnecessary things. Do yourself and your wallet a favor by staying off the buying bandwagon.
A little extra space, some more time and money can all be yours when you consider adding a little minimalism into your life. And the best part of the minimalist lifestyle? You get to choose how much you decide to keep and what you decide to lose. So take a moment and look through some of those old boxes sitting around. Breeze through that spare bedroom piling up with unused junk. You might just surprise yourself with how much you are willing to throw away.
Time spent outdoors is invaluable for kids. Outdoor activities increase physical activity levels and improve fitness among children, enhance their mental wellness, aid social and emotional development, and may promote greater academic achievement. Spending time outside also boosts vitamin D levels, which not only strengthens their growing bones, but may help to reduce kids’ risk of future health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis. However, while UV light is essential for vitamin D production, it is important that your children don’t burn in the sun, as just a few episodes of burning can leave them vulnerable to skin cancer as an adult. To protect your kids’ skin this summer, follow the easy steps outlined below.
Avoid the midday sun
Ultraviolet rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm, so during this time, indoor activities are a better bet. If your kids are outside around the middle of the day, get them to stay in the shade by using a sun umbrella, tent or tree.
Choose sun-savvy clothing
Dress your kids in long-sleeved tops and pants, choosing tightly woven materials and darker colors for greater sun protection. You might also like to invest in some clothing for your kids that are certified to offer protection against UV rays. Don’t forget that your little ones should wear a hat too, with hats shading their scalp, ears, neck and face offering greater protection than baseball caps.
If your children wear sunglasses to protect their eyes from UV light, they are less likely to develop cataracts when older. Wraparound sunglasses are ideal and choose those shades that offer complete protection from UVA and UVB rays.
You should use sunscreen with at least an SPF of 15 on your kids’ skin, considering an SPF closer to 50 for babies and children with a fair complexion. Make sure that the sun block you choose also protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If your youngsters have sensitive skin, consider using one of the hypoallergenic sun creams available. Besides applying sunscreen half an hour before your kids go outdoors, make sure you reapply the sunblock every couple of hours, particularly after going in the water or being active. You might be surprised to hear that even water-resistant sun creams are less effective once the skin is wet. Finally, when using sunscreen, don’t forget to apply it to your children’s ears, hands and feet, and use a lip balm that offers sun protection.
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s breakdown of the safest sunblocks.
Kids tend to burn when you least expect it. A classic example is when youngsters spend a day outdoors when it’s cloudy, as clouds only filter out a tiny proportion of UV rays. Therefore, always have sun protection to hand, so whether you’re at home or out for the day, your little ones will stay safe in the sun.
With most modern households consisting of two busy working partners, keeping a clean house can become something of a struggle. Putting small routines in place can really make a difference to the cleanliness and general appearance of your home and can help to take the fear factor out of tackling those daunting cleaning tasks.
- Make your bed every morning. Starting the day by leaving a messy bed sets the wrong tone for a tidy home. Straightening the bed signifies a commitment to keeping your household in check, remembering to do this every day is a good reminder to yourself that you want your environment to be better.
- Clean your bathroom after you use it. You go in the bathroom every morning right? Always keep a cloth and spray bottle of cleaner in there and wipe surfaces once you are finished. Always keep your toilet brush in a container filled with a mix of water and cleaner and give the bowl a quick scrub before you leave the room.
- Unload your dishwasher in the morning. Ensuring the dishwasher is empty and ready for the next influx of dirty dishes is important to stop plates and pans piling up on the side. Nobody wants to have to empty the dishwasher before they can fill it at night, so doing it in the morning will remove any possible excuses once dinner is done.
- Put a load of washing on every day. Before you leave the house, make sure there is a load in the washer. This will prevent laundry from piling up and becoming an insurmountable task.
- Do the drying as soon as you arrive home. Before you get stuck into whatever is planned for the evening transfer the day’s laundry to the dryer. Folding and ironing can wait for the weekend.
- Clean as you cook. When preparing an evening meal ensure you keep an eye on the contents of cupboards and fridges or freezers. Throw anything out of date and wipe up any stains or spills you spot.
- Load your dishwasher every evening and put it on. This way the dishes are ready to unload in the morning allowing you to stick to the first rule of this list.
- Pick up once the kids are in bed. As tempting as it is to sink into that sofa, take ten minutes once little ones are settled to put away toys and other child related clutter. This prevents the mess from multiply day after day.
- Vacuum before you ‘veg out’. Ok, so you are almost there. But before you climb into that easy chair, grab the vacuum and buzz around the exposed areas of floor. You will be able to enjoy the results as you relax rather than stressing that it needs to be done.
- Use weekends wisely. If you currently find yourself rushing around at the weekends to get everything done, following the tips here will put an end to that. Weekends should be used for jobs not included in the other instructions. Iron or fold laundry, vacuum the areas you didn’t reach in the evenings, empty waste baskets and change bedding.
Excess dust in your home is a major nuisance, but it can also be a health hazard. Individuals with breathing conditions like asthma and COPD, those with compromised immune systems and people with preexisting medical conditions are at particular risk, but high levels of dust can trigger allergies and breathing difficulties in even healthy individuals.
Regular vacuuming (we recommend Miele!) is important, but it is only one way to keep excess dust and dirt out of your home. Here are some other smart ways to keep dust at bay and help your family live a healthier indoor lifestyle.
. Install an indoor air purifier. Indoor air purifiers are quite effective at pulling dust and allergens from the air. Just be sure to check the filters often and change them as needed.
. Deep clean your carpets at least once or twice a year. Dust and allergens can hide deep in the fibers of your carpet, beyond the reach of normal vacuum cleaners. Steam cleaning and other deep cleaning methods can pull that hidden dirt out of the rug and reduce the amount of dust in your home.
. Change your bedding even if it looks clean and fresh. Dust mites love to hide in blankets, sheets and other bedding. Be sure to use mattress protectors.
. Keep your home free of clutter. Those knick-knacks are called dust-catchers for a reason, and having too many of them in your home will vastly increase the amount of dust that settles on the surfaces in your home.
. Replace your carpets with hardwood floors. Carpeting is notorious for trapping dirt and allergens. If your rugs are looking old and tired, consider replacing them with hardwood floors, which are attractive and much easier to keep clean.
. Use a dusting rag instead of a feather duster. Feather dusters may look cool, but they simply spread dust from one surface to another. Spray a dusting cloth lightly with your favorite furniture cleaner and use it to wipe your surfaces free of dust.
. Beat your throw rugs in the great outdoors. It only takes a couple of minutes to take your bathroom rug and other throw rugs outdoors for cleaning.
. Use the top to bottom cleaning method. When cleaning your walls and other surfaces, start at the top and work your way down. That way you can capture any dust you missed on the first pass.
Keeping your home clean and free of dust is not an easy task, but there are things you can do to make the task less daunting. Simply changing the way you clean can have a huge impact, as can increasing the frequency of cleaning for bedding, rugs and other surfaces.
Have you taken the time to really look around your office? How clean is your office? We all take the time to maintain a clean home because that is where we live, however we tend to neglect thorough cleaning at our offices or workplaces. There are a few ways that professional office cleaning can help you and your entire workforce!
Improved Efficiency and Productivity
Your employees are able to work much more efficiently when their desktop is not cluttered. Having a regular professional cleaning service, like Cape Cod Collaborative Cleaning, can come to your office. Having this service will ensure that your workers have an area where they can do their work in an efficient, focused manner. When they are not distracted by clutter, your workers will also be more productive. The combination of increased productivity and efficiency helps to ensure that your company can become more profitable.
Professional cleaning of your office removes not only dust, dirt and grime, but also bacteria and germs that can make your employees sick. The law requires that you protect the “health, safety and welfare” of your employees. That is one reason that you need to pay close attention to the routine cleaning of your office space. Your office is in essence a public space. Germs hang around on many surfaces which are touched by your employees, you and your customers. Dust can also contribute to increased sick days especially when employees struggle with allergies. Cleaning helps prevent “sick building syndrome” from happening at your place of work.
Improved Office Impression
You have heard the expression “First Impressions are everything.” When a client enters your office, a messy or dirty space can give them the wrong impression about your level of professionalism. Make sure that you look professional and organized from the moment someone walks in. This starts with a clean floor, dust free desks and file cabinets and moves on to clean bathrooms.
Tips for Keeping the Office Space Clean
Let’s face it, asking employees to clean up the office space never works! Beyond asking your employees to keep their own workspace neat, the deep down cleaning should be handled by someone else. Unfortunately, some employees resent being asked to do cleaning work, and few are trained in professional cleaning methods. Looking into hiring a professional cleaning company like Cape Cod Cleaning Collaborative is the best move you could make.
If your office space needs a little attention, consider professional help. From a professional carpet cleaner, window cleaners to professional cleaning companies like Cape Cod Cleaning Collaborative, you can keep your office space shining with the help of people that are trained to do the dirty work and allows you to leave your employees to focus on the work they do best.
Would you like a cleaning consultation at your office? Call Cape Cod Cleaning Collaborative today at 508-507-7500 or email [email protected].
Have you been thinking of renting out your home this Summer? Would you like to take advantage of the weekly summer rental rates in this area and have your home work for you? It’s not too late, but it will take a little bit of planning and an experienced rental agent to make it happen for you!
Whether you’d like to permanently convert your home into a vacation rental, or just rent out your home for a few weeks while you’re on vacation, there are people out there who will want to rent it from you, and local real estate agents that will help make it happen. It is important to know what you are getting into and to prepare accordingly. We are here to help with some helpful hints to make the process an easy one!
Getting your Home Ready to Rent
1. Keep careful records. Rental income is taxable, but many of the expenses you will incur as you prepare your rental are tax deductible. Keep detailed records of the money and time you spend getting your home ready to rent so that you can maximize your deductions at tax time.
2. Apply for a rental permit. Permits are not necessary in all areas, especially for short- term rentals, but many cities are responding to the growth of new rental trends by creating new forms of regulation. If a permit is required in your area, give yourself plenty of time to get through the application process before your first guests arrive. Remember that permitting and inspection fees, like all other expenses you incur while preparing your rental property, are tax deductible so be sure to keep careful records.
3. Acquire landlord insurance. Call your local insurance agent and ask if your current homeowner’s policy will cover the kind of rental situation you will be offering. Many policies will cover the occasional short-term rental, but for more long-term arrangements, you may need special coverage.
4. Prepare your home to rent, inside and out. Make sure that all appliances work, that furniture is comfortable and in good repair, and that everything is clean and neat. Ensure that safety equipment like smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers are in good working order and are clearly accessible. Remove all precious personal belongings to a secure location, such as a storage unit or primary home. Do the same with all toiletries and anything else you wouldn’t want a stranger snooping through. Put clean linens on all of the beds (if you are planning on supplying linens), and make sure that bathrooms are stocked with clean towels, soap dispensers are full, etc. The requirements for safety equipment in rental properties vary widely by region. Smoke detectors are the bare minimum in most places. You will be informed of further requirements through the permitting process. Unless you are going for a very high-end rental, do not furnish your rental with extremely expensive furniture, linens, towels, etc. These items are likely to get damaged or disappear. Look for items of decent quality that are not too expensive but are still comfortable.
5. Hire a reputable cleaning service. Some property owners are able to minimize costs by performing rental clean-outs on their own, but this can be a very time-consuming and difficult process, so it might be better worth your time to hire a professional service. Be sure to do some research first and hire a reputable company that is licensed and insured such as Cape Cod Cleaning Collaborative. Check with the cleaning company about non-toxic and chemical free cleaning as so many renters suffer from allergies to cleaning chemicals.
6. Hire a landscaping service. As with cleaning, some property owners take on landscaping chores themselves, but you may be better off hiring a landscaping service to take care of routine lawn maintenance and care. Landscaping services, like cleaning services and other maintenance costs are all tax deductible, and a well-maintained yard is more likely to get good reviews and repeat renters.
7. Create a system for providing a key or entry instructions to your guests. This is something that can be handled by your rental agent should you choose to use one. The check in and checkout instructions will be detailed with the lease and any inquiries etc. can be directed to the rental agent and their office, freeing you up to enjoy your time!
8. Create a welcome book or informational packet to give to renters when they arrive. Include information about the home and the local area. Providing information on local attractions and dining options, as well as emergency contact information is an option that guests love. Leaving a welcome gift like a fruit basket or bottle of wine is another great way to welcome guests and keep them coming back year after year.
Renting your home as a vacation rental can be a great opportunity and a source of income. The key is surrounding yourself with people you trust that will help and guide you through the process. Why deal with typing leases and collecting deposits when your rental agent can handle that for you?
If you’re thinking of renting your property, buying or selling on Cape Cod, we’re happy to talk through your goals and point you in the correct direction. Email your inquiry here.
Green Cleaning Your Home with Kangen Water and the Enagic® machine!
It is important to maintain a clean home to keep your family in the best of health. Unfortunately, many cleaning products available today contain toxic, unnatural ingredients that are harmful to the environment and to our health. Even some of the “all-natural” products on the market today contain harmful chemicals.
If you have been looking for green, safe cleaning products for your home, Cape Cod Cleaning Collaborative has the answer. We us the Enagic® water ionizing machine to make our own household cleaning products that will not pose a risk to your family. You can use different PH levels of water combined with only a saline solution to disinfect and clean your home. You will be amazed at the sparkle!
Let’s talk about a few of the ways you can use Kangen cleaning waters in different rooms in your home!
First let’s talk about the Bathroom. Although the bathroom is the second most germ filled room in your home, the bathroom is definitely a breeding ground for bacteria. Your bathtub is actually the dirtiest place in your bathroom1. Other areas in your bathroom that love to breed bacteria and should be watched out for are toothbrushes, countertops, the toilet and the bathroom sink. Here are a few pointers to keep your bathroom clean and safe for your family:
- Scrub the Tub: Wash your bathtub once or twice a week with Strong Kangen Water (PH 11.5) to fight tough dirt and stains, and then Strong Acidic Water (PH 2.5) to disinfect and stop germs from spreading.
- Clean Your Toothbrush: Besides switching your toothbrush out every 3 months, you should routinely disinfect it with Strong Acidic Water (PH 2.5) Once a week, spray your toothbrush with Strong Acidic Water and then rinse..
- Keep the Toilet Clean (Without Bleach or Chemicals): Thanks to Enagic®, you do not have to use bleach to keep your toilet sparkling clean! With your Strong Acidic Water (PH 2.5) spray bottle, attack toilet bowl germs 2 or 3 times a week. For stubborn toilet bowl stains, use full-strength Strong Kangen Water (PH 11.5).
- Clean with Confidence: Clean all over surfaces with Strong Kangen Water (PH 11.5), including doorknobs, cabinet hardware, sinks and faucets, floors, etc. Feel confident knowing that you’re keeping your home safe, spotless, and green!
The kitchen contains a plethora of germs, with more bacteria than even your bathroom!2 With so many pathogens lurking about your countertops, cutting boards, sponges, and dish rags, we will use Enagic® to help you maintain a safe, clean kitchen.
Here are some helpful tips to ward off the germs in the kitchen:
- Clean Your Sponges: Wash your sponges regularly in the dishwasher and microwave them for two minutes while still damp. This can help remove germs that easily spread from your sponge to your countertops and dishes.
- Keep It Clean :Use the All-Purpose Strong Kangen Water (PH 11.5). to wipe away germs from cutting boards, your sink and faucet, garbage cans, countertops, cabinet hardware, knives, floors with messy spills, etc. Strong Kangen Water is a powerful all-purpose cleaner that fights grime, grease, stains, germs, and dirt all over your house. You should then spray these items with Strong Acidic Water (PH 2.5), which acts as a disinfectant. Keep two spray bottles of these extra strength cleaners close by, and keep those germs on the run!
- Wash Your Hands: Before and after handling food, be sure to wash your hands. The Enagic® Hand Sanitizer will help keep your hands disinfected with Strong Acidic Water (PH 2.5) as you prepare healthy foods and cook delicious meals for your family.
Window Cleaning has always been my least favorite task. I was never able to clean a window without streaking it. When you open the window shades to let the sunlight shine through your home, the last thing you want to see is dust build-up or streaks left behind from a window cleaner. How can you achieve crystal clear windows without the use of chemicals? The 6.0 PH Kangen Water is the best glass cleaner you will ever use! Spray it on, wipe it off with a rag and you will be streak free!
The Enagic® water machine will produce as much water as you need to fight germs before they become a health risk. All you need is a little preparation to make sure your spray bottles are well labeled and situated, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to maintain a green and clean household!
There’s no reason to use chemicals to clean when you have an Enagic® machine! Appreciate your clean and safe home, and enjoy the greener life. If you don’t have an Enagic® machine be sure to use a cleaning company that does!
For more information on green cleaning your home or additional information about the waters made by the Enagic® machine contact Cape Cod Cleaning Collaborative today!
When we began researching green and natural cleaners, we were completely aghast to learn what a murky and misleading industry has been created around these so called “green” products.
It turns out that the folks at the Environmental Worker’s Group have been on the forefront of this issue for some time. EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. If you haven’t done so, we highly recommend that you research your cleaning products through their database.
To save you a bit of time, here are direct links to some of the most popular and widely-used products on the market.
The Honest Co.
Shocking, right? So what are environmentally conscience cleaners to do? For our part, we’ve decided to take it all the way back to the basics: soap and water, vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. We especially love Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps Sal Suds All Purpose Liquid Cleaner, a cruelty-free, fair-trade, biodegradable and EWG A-rated product. Check out all the ways you can use Sal Suds on Lisa Bronner’s Sal Suds Dilution Cheat Sheet.
It was important to us that our cleaning formulas be nontoxic, DIY (do it yourself), affordable, effective and that we share them with you. So here goes…
General All Purpose Cleaner
Pro Tip: Add the soap AFTER you fill the bottle or you’ll be inundated with suds.
General Purpose Disinfectant
Pro Tip: Add the soap AFTER you fill the bottle or you’ll be inundated with suds. Also, due to the acidity of the vinegar, this formula is not suitable for wood and soft stones such as granite.
General Purpose Soft Scrub
Blend together. Pro-tip: my Ninja Juicer is perfect for this task!
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