Femion Mezini's Blog
As seasons change, the air inside your home changes. Some seasons bring more pollen and dust, while others introduce wood smoke, and still others mold spores, mildew, and fungi. While you can’t keep them all out, here are some ideas for making your indoor as healthful as possible through every season.
- Make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter. These High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters collect the tiny particles that other vacuums return into the air. Look for one with a washable filter since these will be less expensive overall compared to that that require regular replacing. Machines that use a HEPA bag work well, but you’ll need to toss the bag and replace it frequently.
- Cover up your mattresses and pillows. Your mattress collects dead skin cells, dust mites, and other allergens. Use a dust-proof casing on your mattresses and pillows. Made from vinyl and different fabrics with very dense weaves that have pores too small for dust mites to get through, these zippered cases keep the allergens from invading your sleep space. Frequent washings help these barriers stay fresh and allergen free.
- Along the same lines, avoid excessive pillows, drapes, throws, and the like in rooms of family members with allergies. A great home improvement project to reduce allergens is to replace windows and blinds with between-the-glass blinds. That way, you don’t need to have window coverings to collect dust and allergens at all.
- The same holds for family areas. Too many thick textiles gather dust mites, mold spores, and pollen. Try to have a minimum of dust-catching decorative items as well. Look for bookshelves and electronics cabinets with glass doors to keep dust out.
- Exhaust your bathroom. Make sure you run the exhaust fan during and after showers to remove the moisture from your home. Excessive moisture creates the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. If something smells musty to you, there’s probably a culprit somewhere in the house. Pay attention to the smells under you sink in the bathroom and kitchen, and sniff behind the washer and dryer every once in a while.
- Make changing your heat or air conditioning system filters 90-day scheduled maintenance. Do not run your HVAC system without filters since the air intake will draw dust and pollen particles into the system.
- If you’ve moved to a new home, don’t just rely on the HVAC filters. Your vents and ducts can fill up with years of dust, pet hair and dander, and pollen. Hire an air duct professional to clean them for you so that you start fresh.
- On a similar note, keep your dryer vents clean and free of lint. Clear the lint trap with every load and discard it in an enclosed waste can.• Keep your gutters clear of debris since a stopped-up gutter can cause a moisture buildup in your attic, basement, or crawlspace. All of these areas gather dust mites, mold spores, and pollen.
- Beware of your garden. You can’t do anything about what your neighbors choose to plant, but you can pay attention to your own. Avoid high-pollen grasses and trees.
If you’re looking for a home that is friendly to allergy-prone family members, talk to your real estate agent about newer homes in your area with built-in filtration systems and modern HEPA filtered HVAC systems.
If you cook in a cast iron skillet or use other cast iron cookware, you’ll know that periodically, they need what is called “seasoning.” But just what does that mean? The way that cast iron works, oil baked into the service prevents the iron from forming rust and keeps food from sticking too much. As long as the pan is adequately protected, the seasoned finish improves with age, giving you that much sought-after easy-release veneer.
What you need
- The manufacturers of newer pans sell special soybean-based oils that are highly refined to use on their cookware.
- If you’ve inherited grandma’s cookware, however, she probably used cooking oil or even lard to keep her pan seasoned. If you cook in the pan all the time, lard (pork fat) or tallow (beef fat) still are excellent seasoning choices. But, when you use it only occasionally, both lard and tallow can become rancid and ruin the flavor of your food. Additionally, you may use melted shortening or vegetable oil.
- A cleaning kit (sold at better homeware stores) or a soft, lint-free cloth.
With a clean, dry skillet, cover the pan inside and out with a thin layer of oil (or lard/tallow). Be sure to get the bottom and the handle as well. For best results, rub the oil on with a lint-free cloth.
Heat your oven to 350°F. Place the pan upside down on the top rack of the oven and place a sheet of aluminum foil or an aluminum cookie sheet on the bottom shelf to gather any oil drips. Let your pan season in the oven for one hour. Let your pan cool completely before using.
If your pan feels sticky, excess oil may have built up on the surface, or the oil has not fully converted to seasoning. Turn your oven on to 400°F and place the pan upside down on the upper rack. Allow it to bake for an hour. After your pan has cooled, test the surface again. If it is still somewhat gummy or sticky, repeat the process at 400°F for an additional hour.
If dark residue appears on your cleaning cloth, your pan may be reacting to high heat or an acidic food such as tomato sauce. Just wipe it out as much as possible and continue to use your pan regularly. The darkened areas should resolve.
If your pan has rust, perhaps from improper storage, or because you picked it up at a garage sale, gently remove the rust with very fine steel wool or a scratch-free scrubber. Then, wash the cookware in hot, soapy water to remove all the metal filings and loosened rust. Let your pan dry so that you can see if all the rust is removed. Once is it completely clear of rust, follow the seasoning instructions above.
As your property professional if there are cooking classes in your area to become a pro at using your cast iron skillet.
Could your home be making you sick? Could those allergies be inside rather than outside? Yes, and yes. Of course, you’ve already sussed out the obvious places: the mold in the bathroom, years of dirt in the carpet, even the drapes and blinds.
But what about the air ducts? You know, the very thing that carries the conditioned air to you from your expensive HVAC unit. Just because you use filters on your furnace and air conditioning unit doesn’t mean that those ducts are clean. Here are times to check your ducts to keep your air breathable and pristine.
When you buy new
Even if your home is new, you have no guarantee that your ducts are clean. In fact, you’ll often find layers of drywall dust, insulation, and other harmful debris in your ducts that entered during the building and testing stages of your home and its systems. If you’re prone to allergies, have your ducts cleaned before you move in.
When you buy old
If you’re a home’s second, third, or more owner, you have no idea what might be lurking in those ducts. If three owners ago had a litter of kittens, you may not find any dander in the new carpets, but there could be pet hair and dander in those ducts. Try to get having the ducts inspected and cleaned added into your seller’s closing costs or home warranty.
After a long winter
When your home is closed up for long periods due to inclement weather, dust mites find their way into your ducts. Add some damp days and that crossover period from winter to summer (usually called spring) when you try not to operate your heat or air conditioning, and you’ve set up your ducts to be breeding grounds for allergens of all types including mold spores and dust mites, and a collecting place for pollen.
When to call the pros
Even a shop vacuum with a super long hose cannot clean out most ducts from the vent back toward the fan unit. Call in a licensed and bonded professional air duct cleaning service to take care of the problem for you. Schedule them before the worst of the allergy season to clean out the ducts and install HEPA filters in the air returns and furnace. Make sure that your filters can trap microscopic particles, pet dander, and fine dust. Change them as frequently are noted on the packaging.
If you’re buying a home, be sure to ask about any special filtration included in your HVAC until. And talk to your agent about requesting adding air duct cleaning into those seller’s closing costs.
Ready to transform an ordinary kitchen into a stellar one? With a kitchen cleaning checklist, any home seller can revamp a kitchen's look and feel.
Ultimately, there are several things to include in a kitchen cleaning checklist, such as:
If you cook regularly, your kitchen countertops may become messy. Plus, if you store a wide range of items on your kitchen countertops, these items may collect dust over time.
Fortunately, it usually doesn't take long for a home seller to clean kitchen countertops and improve their overall appearance.
It may prove to be worthwhile to clean the kitchen countertops daily. Wiping down the countertops regularly ensures that dust and debris can be eliminated before they cause long-lasting damage.
Furthermore, don't forget to eliminate as much clutter as possible from your kitchen countertops. This will enable you to show off the true beauty of your kitchen countertops, thereby increasing the likelihood that potential homebuyers will be impressed by your home's kitchen.
If food particles fall onto the floor while you're cooking – and you fail to clean them up in a timely fashion – serious problems may arise in your kitchen. However, a diligent home seller will know how to keep the kitchen floors looking great at all times.
Cleaning the kitchen floors typically is a weekly task that may require just a few minutes to complete.
If you have tile floors in your kitchen, warm water can be used to wipe down the floors as needed. Also, sweeping or vacuuming tile floors will enable you to get rid of loose soil and grit.
Comparatively, if you have hardwood floors in your kitchen, boiling water may prove to be essential. Wash your kitchen's hardwood floors thoroughly, and you can enhance their appearance in no time at all.
Believe it or not, the kitchen sink can make a world of difference in the eyes of potential homebuyers. If you dedicate the necessary time and resources to clean the kitchen sink, you should have no trouble impressing homebuyers any time they check out your house's kitchen.
Using a general-purpose cleaner is all it takes to clean a kitchen sink. After you apply the cleaner, wipe the sink dry, and you're good to go.
Daily kitchen sink cleaning is paramount. If you spend even a few minutes each day cleaning the kitchen sink, you can maintain the sink's appearance both now and in the future.
If you need additional help with kitchen cleaning, don't hesitate to reach out to a home cleaning company for assistance. This business hires professionals who understand the ins and outs of cleaning a kitchen – as well as other areas of a home – and will help you revamp a house's appearance.
Lastly, feel free to contact a real estate agent for support throughout the home selling process. With an expert real estate agent at your side, you can boost your chances of getting the best price for your residence.