Dear Family, Friends & Clients,
Here are a few easy home spring cleaning tasks to do while many of us are staying close to home during these uncertain times. Not only will this help us mentally + physically to be a even just a little bit productive during this time, it will also ensure our homes are sanitary + germ-free = proper cleaning of indoor spaces can help remove irritants that trigger allergies and asthma.
Spring Cleaning Tips – Clean the interior of your house thoroughly. While doing so, be conscience to check the condition of everything you clean, this is the time to correct small issues before they grow in to large ones.
Trap more dirt by using two mats, one outside the door and one inside. To refresh, hose off and air-dry mats. Vacuum indoor ones on both sides — going over the back will push trapped dirt out onto the floor where it will be easier to pick up.
Bad news: Your cell phone probably harbors more germs than your toilet seat. That’s why you should give it a once over with an alcohol wipe to zap germs, as well as other electronics, like your TV remote and computer mouse.
Reusable grocery bags cut down on wasteful plastic, but they can get grimy with time. Run your reusable bags through the washer regularly to remove any lingering food bacteria, turning them inside out before you toss them in. Pay attention to the bag’s fabric when selecting a dryer setting.
Don’t overlook the convenience of your dishwasher. It can take on more than just plates, including your children’s (and pet’s) plastic toys. Just choose the crystal or quick cycle and skip the heated dry. For stuffed animals, check the care tag first and then gather in a mesh bag or pillowcase and throw in the washer on a gentle cycle.
Got kitchen stink you just can’t kick? Try running a couple of lemon rind slivers through your garbage disposal and follow with cold water to dispel the smell.
Enough with the tomato sauce stains — this trick will make cleaning ’em up easier. Place large microwave-safe bowl with 1 cup of water and a chopped-up lemon, lime, or orange or several tablespoons of vinegar inside. Turn the appliance on high for several minutes or until the solution boils and the window is steamy, then let it sit to cool for 15 minutes before opening the door. Remove and wipe out the inside and outside with a sponge.
Dig out the granite polish to restore shine and help repel stains on your kitchen surfaces. For daily wipe-downs, use a specialized cleaner, like GH Seal star Weiman Granite & Stone Daily Cleaner & Polish. The mild formulas cut grease and remove surface stains without the damaging effects of vinegar or ammonia, and they won’t leave behind a dull film like ordinary dish soap can.
If you think that nasty mark is permanent, you’re wrong. Run the cut side of a lemon over the board to remove food stains and smells. Want an extra cleaning oomph? Sprinkle it with salt or baking soda first.
You probably wipe down your fridge’s interior shelving on the regular already, but don’t forget about the rest. Pop out the door shelves and bins, and wash in warm, soapy water to get rid of food bacteria and spillage.
Pots and Pans
Soften burned-on residue by adding water and dish liquid to your cookware and letting it simmer on the stove. Use Brillo pads to remove any remaining stuck-on bits. Ketchup (yes, really!) helps dissolve tarnish on copper pots and other copper cooking accessories. Just massage the red sauce over the surface and add a pinch of salt to your polish if you come across exceptionally stubborn spots.
Use your appliance’s self-cleaning function to remove stubborn, baked-on grime. If your oven doesn’t have one, place a hot, wet cloth on top of burned spots to help soften the gunk. Then scrub with a heavy-duty pad and wipe dry.
Sticky kitchen grime is a mix of dust and grease that builds up over time. Run the exhaust hood over your range every time you cook to keep grease from settling. To de-gunk, use Parker & Bailey Kitchen Cabinet Cream because it cuts through dirt and leaves wood moisturized. Do an extra pass around door and drawer pulls and other places where grease collects.
To make this surface sparkle again (see ya, fingerprints), mix a solution of 1 teaspoon dish detergent and 1 quart hot tap water. Using a microfiber cloth, rub the detergent solution onto the marks in small sections, going with the grain. Rinse with clean hot water only, and dry immediately with a clean cloth.
Start small and pick your stash spot. Empty it out and suck up dust with your vacuum’s nozzle. “Toss or relocate any items you no longer need or that don’t belong there,” Forte says. Everything else goes back, but this time in an organized manner. Repurpose pretty plates and bowls to store cords, stamps, and other odds and ends. A nonslip liner will keep them in place.
Yep, you can wash a plastic or vinyl curtain in your washing machine. Do it on the gentle cycle with detergent and add a couple of bath towels for extra cleaning power. Then hang it to dry. To keep the curtain cleaner longer, spritz it a few times each month with a bleach-containing all-purpose cleaner. Then just let the shower rinse it off (before you hop in).
Trust us when we say this 15-minute task makes a huge difference in your bathroom if you have white (not colored) grout. Spray grout with Good Housekeeping Lab pick CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner. Let it set for several minutes, then scrub with a stiff brush and rinse.
To freshen drains (not unclog them) and help keep them free-flowing, mix 1/2 cup baking soda with 1/4 cup table salt. Pour the mixture down the drain, followed by 1 cup heated vinegar. It will foam and bubble. Let it stand for 15 minutes — longer does not work any better. Follow by running hot tap water for at least 15 to 30 seconds. This is especially good for seldom-used drains, like in a guest bathroom.
Pull furniture away from walls and vacuum behind and under it. Do the woodwork and air vents while you’re back there. Then switch the upholstery tool on your machine to go over both sides of cushions and underneath them. The crevice tool can help degunk along the trim and stitching.
Put your dryer to work and toss drapes, curtains, and even throw pillows in the dryer for 15 minutes on the “air-only” cycle, then rehang immediately to avoid wrinkles.
Spring cleaning season is all about focusing on the spots you forget about the rest of the year. Grab an extendable duster and attack ceiling fans, hanging and recessed lights, moldings and more
Spring cleaning is the perfect time to pay attention to the thing under the sheets. Press firmly with your vacuum’s upholstery and crevice tools to clean the top and sides. After cleaning, rinse with a damp cloth, bolt dry, and sanitize with a disinfectant spray like Lysol. Steam from a garment steamer or iron will also kill dust mites near the surface. Vacuum afterwards.
Go through clothes and shoes from the season that’s just ended — and remove anything stained, in need of repair, or worn out. Make a second pass through spring and summer clothes as you take them out of storage. Try on anything you’re unsure about before giving it closet space.
Before you start to notice an odor in your appliance, disinfect it by running the special washer cleaning cycle with bleach or using a washing machine cleaner, like GH Seal star Tide Washing Machine Cleaner.
More than 15,000 fires start in home laundry rooms every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association (yikes!). Beyond removing the fuzz from your dryer’s filter after every load, pull out hard-to-reach lint with the crevice tool on your vacuum to suck up debris. Vacuum under, around, and behind the dryer as well.
Yes, you have to clean your cleaners. Replace the bag, clean the dust cup, and replace or wash the filters. Snip threads snarled in the brush with scissors or a seam ripper.
Another cleaner that needs to be cleaned! Clear any dust bunnies stuck on your broom’s bristles by swishing the broom head around in warm, soapy water, or vacuum it with the end of the vacuum hose.
Wait for an overcast day and start on the shady side of the house, as direct sun can lead to streaks. Raise blinds or shades and wash windows with glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Then lower the blinds and vinyl shades and dust with a duster like Swiffer and finish by vacuuming fabric shades and drapes.”
With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s time to get your outdoor furniture ready for lounging. To do this, add a squirt of dish detergent to a bowl of warm water, then wipe down tables and chairs. Finish it all off with a spray of water from the garden hose.
Thank you to Good Housekeeping for these spring cleaning tips.
Start with a home evaluation and get a game plan. Mold is simple = no moisture = no mold growth!! Keep moisture barriers intact to protect the integrity of your home.
Insulation damaged by mold must be removed to prevent further damage and contamination throughout the home. This will not only protect your investment, it will also help to keep you and your family healthy.
Proper Mold Remediation
Many contractors just spray or add chemicals over the old tainted insulation, BUT the insulation must actually be physically removed to be remediated properly.
• Improve Air Quality
• Control Moisture
• Reduce Condensation
MadCity Environmental has proven methods to remove and clear out all of the old insulation. Once the mold has been properly remediated and removed, then we can air seal and re-insulate your home. This will keep your family warm and comfy this winter, plus you will save money on your heating/cooling bills all year long!
Contact MadCity Environmental today at 608.480.0367 to schedule an in-home consultation.
Keep Moisture Out!
Bathroom exhaust fans are important for removing moisture and bad odors, and preventing the growth of mold and mildew in your bathrooms, and reducing condensation on the windows in your home. It can also prevent wallpaper and paint from blistering and peeling and doors and windows from becoming warped.
• Control Moisture
• Reduce Condensation
• Prevent Mold Growth
• Mirrors Free of Fog
When properly installed an exhaust fan can reduce moisture load in the entire home. MadCity Environmental can also install humidity sensors and timers to help control mold growth. After installation MadCity Environmental will conduct a flow-pan test to verify proper cubic feet of air movement (cfm) for your home.
Contact MadCity Environmental today at 608.480.0367 to schedule an in-home consultation.
This weekend we are reminded to move our clocks one hour ahead for Day Light Savings; technically the clocks are to be adjusted at 2am on Sunday morning. Although here in Wisconsin we’ll loose an hour of sleep, this is not necessarily all bad, as this is also another sign that Spring is on it’s way! 🙂
After a long, dark winter, spring’s bright sun and warm winds are, well, a breath of fresh air. The only downside? All that sunshine spotlights your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks and the dead plants in last year’s flower beds. Here are 10 Helpful Spring Home Maintenance Tips to assist you in preparing for the season ahead.
10 Spring Home Maintenance Tips
• Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
• Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
• Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
• From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
• Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
• Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
• Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
• Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
• Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
• Check your gas and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.
Special thanks to: Dwight Barnett, a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors; who initially shared this checklist on HGTV’s website to help you target the areas that need maintenance so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine.
Typical Wisconsin winter weather is what causes ice dams – heavy snows and freezing cold. When a layer of snow builds up on a rooftop, heat from inside the attic melts the bottom-most layer of snow, sending meltwater dribbling down toward the roof eaves. Typically the eaves extend out from the house and are not heated by warmth from the attic. So on particularly cold nights, with the furnace inside working overtime, meltwater reaches the unheated eaves and it freezes. Soon, the accumulation of ice there creates a dam and water builds up behind it, leaking beneath the shingles and into the house, causing damage every step of the way. Ice damming can be prevented.
Ice dams are an ongoing nuisance and can cause extensive damage to soffit cavities, fascia boards, roof sheathing, gutters, and to the most outer portion of living area walls. This ice build-up can absolutely be alleviated, but every house tends to have a different situation as to why this ice dam is there in the first place.
MadCity Environmental consultants are experts in attic condensation, mold, mildew, rotton wood, ice-damming and other hidden problems. We strive to not only help our customers remedy a current problem, we also work hard to prevent future issues. The most important first step is to notice a small problem before it turns into a big mess.
Ice Dam Warning Signs
• Icicles forming on the edge of your roof
• Ice build up on the top gutter, roof, or lower edge
• Ice forms in soffit vents
• Icicles forming behind the gutters
• Ice forming on siding or exterior walls
• Ice or water inside or around window frames
Ice Dam Prevention
Preventing ice damming in your roof is simple, in principle: keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. Take care of trouble spots and you will enjoy a winter free of icicles—and the damage they can do to your roof.
• SHORT TERM SOLUTION – KEEP SNOW OFF THE ROOF
About the easiest solution is to keep snow off the roof. People with low roofs can use snow rakes, also known as roof rakes – rakes on a long pole – to clear away the snow. But people with two- or three-story homes may not be able to reach their roofs.
• LONG TERM SOLUTION – ATTIC INSULATION AND VENTILATION
MadCity Environmental recommends spraying a 2-inch layer of expanding insulation foam on the attic floor, being careful not to encapsulate electrical equipment or plumbing, and then blowing in several inches of cellulose of other fibrous insulation over that. This will keep heat from getting into the attic from below and if heat does get into the attic, good ventilation will give it a way out of the attic rather than through the roof.
The payback is fast and profound. Not only will is keep your home warm all winter long, it will also keep your house cooler in summer.