Clean Your Indoor Air

Clean Your Indoor Air

Have you noticed that the air in your home is not as clean and fresh as it should be? These tips will help you breathe easier.

• When cooking or cleaning, keep your windows open as much as possible. (not during pollen season)
• When cooking on the top of the stove, cover pots and pans especially when frying. Use the ventilating fan under the hood of the stove when cooking.
• Use the bathroom exhaust fan or open a bathroom window when steam is present.
• Make sure your vacuum cleaner is working properly and does not blow dust back into the room. Change vacuum cleaner bags frequently.
• Use doormats at each entrance to your home to collect dirt and dust before it enters your home.
• Dust your home regularly and clean large flat surfaces several times a year.
• Vacuum and sweep regularly.
• Clean and change the filters on any humidifiers or air-filtration systems regularly.
• Wash all bedding in hot water weekly.
• Use non-toxic cleaning products and don’t mix different types of cleaning solutions together.
• Place some houseplants in your home. They remove toxins from the air.
• Don’t smoke inside your home.

How Does Stain-Resistant Carpet Work?

How Does Stain-Resistant Carpet Work?

Consumers have become quite demanding. We expect that the things we buy and use will last a long time, work properly and outlive the warranty.  Our high expectations extend straight down to our carpets. We expect them to resist staining and look new for many years. Fortunately, with modern stain-resistant applications, we can get years and years of life out of our carpets with proper care.

Understanding Stain-Resistant Fibers
True stain-resistant carpet is referred to as 5th generation nylon. Although these fibers are stain resistant, they are not stain-proof. In order to  understand how carpet can be made stain-resistant, we have to define what a stain is.

A stain is something that has added color to the carpet fibers, and cannot be removed with regular cleaning. Some stains are fairly simple to remove.  Others are difficult or even impossible to remove completely. One type of stain that gives owners of carpet nightmares is the red food coloring typically found in soft drinks. These products dye the fibers in much the same way that carpet is dyed at the factory.

5th generation nylon carpet fibers are factory-dyed using an acid-based dye system. This means that the dye registers on the acid side of the pH scale. Nylon fibers have microscopic areas on the surface called dye sites. These dye sites are negatively charged. The acid based dyes are positively charged,  as are many staining agents like food coloring. Opposites attract, and the molecules of dye attach themselves to dye sites on the nylon fibers giving you the color you want. However, staining agents can do the same thing.

The Magic of “Invisible Dye”
When the carpet is dyed, not all of the dye sites are filled. This creates an open space for any acid-based, positively charged stain molecule to attach itself. To help prevent staining, fiber producers invented a process where they fill the open dye sites with what can be described as “colorless dye”. These “colorless dyes” are called acid dye resistors (ADR’s). ADR’s make it very difficult for stains to permanently enter the dye sites, buying you precious time to blot and remove a spill before the spot becomes a permanent stain. If it weren’t for ADR’s, most food spills would instantly stain the carpet for good!

ADR’s are not the same as carpet protectors like Scotchgard or Teflon, which are referred to as fluorochemical soil retardants. Fluorochemical  soil-retardants help carpet resist common soils, spots and spills. It’s the combination of soil retardants and acid dye resistors that make modern carpet last much longer and clean up much more easily than carpets of a generation ago.

There are things that can damage the factory-applied acid dye resistors. Untrained, uneducated carpet cleaners using the wrong type of cleaning agents can void your carpet’s stain-resist warranty. That’s why Hansen Steam Way is always your safest choice when it comes to having your carpets professionally cleaned.

Hansen Steam Way use the methods, cleaning agents and equipment most recommended by major carpet manufacturers. When we apply a quality fluorochemical protector, your carpets stay cleaner longer. The result is that your carpets look beautiful, resist stains and last longer, maintaining your valuable warranty.

Watch that People Food

Watch that People Food

It can be hard to resist your dog’s sad eyes when he or she is begging for a taste of your food, but it will be better for him in the long run if you
deny him the treat. Some human food is loaded with fat, grease, and spices that can cause dogs to have upset stomachs, bloating, and gas.
It can even lead to pancreatitis.

Other foods are seriously dangerous, including alcoholic beverages, caffeine, chocolate, fat trimmings, raisins and grapes, chicken and turkey bones, onions, macadamia nuts, salt, and sugar.  These foods can cause serious health problems and even be toxic.
If you can’t resist the urge to treat your dog from the table, try offering vegetables, such as broccoli and  carrots. But your better course of action is to stop the begging altogether. Do not reward your pet with human food. You can also feed your dog at the same time you eat, but in a different part of the house. Finally, you can get a toy to offer your dog when he begins to beg for food.

Lawn Care Mistakes

Lawn Care Mistakes

Having a healthy green lawn can be a source of pride to any homeowner. It can also be a frustrating process if you are having trouble keeping your grass green and lush. There are a few common mistakes that homeowners make when caring for their lawns. Avoid these pitfalls to help make the job easier.

Cutting Grass Too Short
If you want your lawn to look as good as a golf course, resist the temptation to cut it too short. Golf courses use a special type of grass that responds  well to a short cutting height. But most lawns require more water and put more stress on the grass when cut too short. Your best bet is to cut only to about three inches and no shorter. With this length, the grass holds moisture and can resist disease better.

Too Much Fertilizer
Putting down too much fertilizer does not make for a healthier lawn. Grass can only absorb so much fertilizer before it starts to become stressed. Excess fertilizer is washed from your lawn and can flow down your street into waterways, becoming a pollutant. Most agricultural experts recommend applying fertilizer in June, August,  and October. Excessive fertilizing in the early spring can cause grass to grow too quickly, resulting in a plant with a weak root structure that is hard to maintain.

Too Much Water
Most people are concerned about not watering their lawns enough, but more damage comes from over-watering than under-watering. Too much water results in shallow roots and a weak plant. In general, most grass needs about one inch of watering a week.

Did You Know: National Parks

Did You Know: National Parks

The United States National Park System was created by President Woodrow Wilson on August 25, 1916, 44 years after the establishment of Yellowstone in 1872 by President Ulysses S. Grant.

}} There are 401 areas comprising the national park system, covering more than 84 million acres in every state,the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

}} The largest national park in the United States is Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska at 13.2 million acres.

}} Four national park sites have a waterway named Green River running through them: in the west, the Green River flows through Dinosaur National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and the Canyonlands National Park. In the east, a different Green River passes through Mammoth Cave National Park.

}} The deepest national park is not the Grand Canyon, but Kings Canyon in California with a depth of 8,200 feet.

Soil Control Saves You Money and Time

Soil Control Saves You Money and Time

All through the year we track various soils into our homes. Not only that, pollutants from car exhaust, pollens, pet and human dander, and just plain old dirt can damage decorative surfaces in your home including carpet, tile, wood, upholstery and fabrics. Soil control is an important part of keeping your home clean and healthy. You can control soil by limiting the entrance and buildup of contaminants in your indoor environment.

Keep Outside Contaminates Outside

The best way to control soil indoors is to prevent its entry. They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; it takes 12 times more effort, time and money to remove soil as it does to prevent it from entering a structure.  Remember that whatever is outside tends to come in, so consider the following:

• Keep walkways, steps and porches clean and free of dirt, mold, moss and algae.

• Maintain garage floors in order to prevent oil, road grime and other contaminants from accumulating and being tracked indoors.

• Place doormats both outside and inside the entrances to your home.

• Outdoor mats should be a water resistant, synthetic, non-absorbent fiber such as olefin or polypropylene, textured to scrape heavier soils off your shoes. Avoid natural fibers which tend to degrade, mold and rot creating a new soil source.

• Inside doormats should be absorbent like nylon, cotton or wool. Vacuum and wash it periodically to remove built-up soils.

• Remove shoes when you come indoors, but don’t make the mistake of going barefoot all the time. The skin of our feet contains natural oils that attach to carpet and attract soil. Instead, wear clean house shoes, socks or slippers indoors.

Some Dirt Starts Inside

There are also sources of soiling that originate indoors. Normal daily activities generate a variety of dust and residues that settle on just about every surface. Keep the following in mind to keep your home clean:

• Cooking produces oily deposits that can bond to floors and carpet, attracting dust and soil. Kitchen vent hoods remove odors and filter out
oils and moisture too.

• Humans shed millions of skin cells every day. The more people and pets there are in the home, the more dead skin, body oils, perspiration and debris accumulate in carpets, furnishings and air ducts.

• Gas and oil-fired heating systems also produce carbon pollution. Even candles can contribute to soiling of carpets and furnishings.

• Use vent fans when showering. Bathroom vent fans exhaust excess moisture outside and help prevent condensation on surfaces. Dust sticks to moisture and creates a residual film on surfaces. This film can become a breeding ground for bacteria and surface mold.

• Vacuuming is the most effective way to maintain your carpets. 74-79% of soil in carpet is dry, particulate soil that can be removed by vacuuming.You should also vacuum your upholstered furniture, drapery and blinds for the same reasons.

• When you dust your furniture, do so gently, preferably with a duster attachment on your vacuum cleaner. If you use a duster, go slow and allow dust to settle for an hour or so and vacuum the floor last. Your carpet can last a long, long time if properly cared for.

Annual professional cleaning is recommended in most homes. Busy homes with children and pets require cleaning twice a year
or more depending on lifestyle. Don’t wait until your carpets, rugs and upholstery look dirty to have them cleaned; by the time fibers have reached a visibly soiled state they are already damaged. Unfortunately, cleaning cannot repair the damage caused by excessive soiling.

Call Hansen Steam Way to schedule your next cleaning or for more expert advice.

Reduce Bedtime Stress

Reduce Bedtime Stress

Falling asleep can be difficult when you are stressed. Try these tips to help make your bedtime more peaceful and relaxing.

1. Do something physical for a few minutes. Dance around your living room, take a short walk on your treadmill, or run in place for a minute or so. You will release some of your pent up tension and help to begin the relaxation process for your mind.

2. Enjoy a warm drink. Herbal tea (without caffeine) or warm milk will temporarily increase your body temperature and calm your nervous system. It is also a way to slow down your mental energy.

3. Massage your aching body parts. You can very easily give yourself a foot or scalp massage. This will cause your tensed up parts to release, allowing your whole body to feel more relaxed.

4. Take a warm bath. This will calm your entire body. Use your soaking time to relax your mind as well. Once you’ve spent this time relaxing, you will find that it is easier to fall asleep.

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Easter

Keeping Your Pets Safe this Easter

Easter is a fun and exciting holiday for children; but for your pets, it can be filled with danger. The treats in your children’s Easter baskets and the decorations around your home can be hazardous to your pet’s health.

Some plants, especially Easter lilies, are highly toxic to pets and can be fatal if eaten. All parts of the Easter lily, day lily, and tiger lily are toxic to cats. Eating even a small part of the plant can lead to kidney failure, which if left untreated, can cause death. Other spring plants that are concerning include
daffodils, hydrangeas, wisteria, and ivy. Ingestion of these plants can cause stomach pain, vomiting, dehydrations, and difficulty breathing.

Also harmful if eaten is the plastic grass used in Easter baskets. It can become twisted within a pet’s intestines and can require surgery to remove. Foil candy wrappers are tempting to pets, but can cause intestinal blockages. Keep these items out of your children’s Easter baskets or up out of the way of your pets to be safe.

Finally, candy can be harmful to pets, with chocolate possibly fatal to cats, dogs, and ferrets. Dark chocolate is worse for pets than milk chocolate. Xylitol, an artificial sweetener used in many candies and gum, can be toxic too. All candy in your family’s Easter basket should be kept out of the reach of your animal companions.

What are some ways to treat your pets this Easter? Give them their own Easter basket filled with healthy treats, a new leash, and some fun chew toys.

Simplify Your Life

Simplify Your Life

Are too many activities making your life hectic? Consider these ways to slow things down.

Get rid of distractions—everything from TV watching to running the kids from activity to activity can fill up your day. Only do those things that are necessary.

Clutter can be a distraction, too. Remove items you rarely use from your home. You’ll have more space and fewer things to spend time cleaning.

Make sure you get enough sleep each night. And take time for yourself each day, even if it is just a few moments.

When all else fails, just say no. When others ask for your help, consider carefully whether you have the time. If not, don’t be afraid to decline. Try saying, “I’m busy with other things right now, but thanks for considering me.”

How to Save Your Rug from Pet Accidents

How to Save Your Rug from Pet Accidents

Rug owners tell us all the time, “It doesn’t seem to matter what I do, if my dog is going to pee on the floor then he is going to choose my favorite area rug. Why?” There are many possible reasons for this behavior. For example, wool rugs are made from sheep hair, so the dog walks by the rug and says “Hey, what’s that sheep doing in my house?” and then proceeds to mark his territory!

There are other motivations too. Maybe the pet is getting old and can’t hold or control it as much. Maybe the pet is overactive or gets too excited when you finally get home and you get a “happy tinkle.” Maybe he’s being territorial with other animals or in the home. Or maybe he or she is just mad at you because you have brought someone or something else into “their” home without consulting them first!

Regardless of why it happens, you need to know what to do to prevent permanent damage to your precious area rugs. This article will help you with procedures you can use to keep your rugs clean, soft and odor-free.

The most important step is to act fast and treat the spot as soon as possible. When a pet “accident” occurs, you’ll want to safely and immediately clean it up before it penetrates into the fibers and becomes a permanent stain.

IMPORTANT! Before treating the spot, lift the rug and lay a plastic trash bag or sheet of plastic under the affected area to avoid saturating the rug pad or floor below. This is especially critical if the rug is on top of a wood floor. Test the following process on a small inconspicuous area of the rug first.

STEP 1 If the spot is still wet, soak up excess liquid by blotting with a clean white terry cloth towel. If you use a colorful towel, you could transfer dye onto your rug. Never brush, rub or scrub the rug; this will cause permanent damage. Simply blot as much liquid as possible and proceed to step 2.

STEP 2 (see rug-safe recipe). Soak a cloth with the rug-safe detergent/ vinegar solution and use the cloth to saturate the spot with a blotting action. Again, do not rub or scrub the rug. Allow a minute or two for the detergent to dilute and neutralize the spot. Blot as much liquid as possible with a dry towel.

STEP 3 Soak a cloth with the rug safe water/vinegar rinse solution and apply to the rug with a blotting action. Blot up with a dry towel. Repeat the rinse step a second time. Blot dry until most of the moisture has been absorbed.

STEP 4 Use a fan or hair dryer on its coolest setting to hasten the drying process. The quicker the rug dries, the better. For stains that do not come out using these methods, contact us as more advanced techniques may be required.

This advice will help you in your time of need but is not a guaranteed solution for every rug. Your rug is unique, so always proceed with caution. If in doubt or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Hansen Steam Way Service for advice or to schedule a service visit.

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