Cleaning for a Pandemic

The entire world has been rocked with the emergence of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Information on the proper way
to wash our hands, social distancing, grocery shopping, etc. have flooded our screens. But, what about our homes? Is
there a proper way to clean to help ensure the homes where we have been spending so much time are actually healthy
places? The answer is a resounding YES! There are methods and ways to keep our homes as healthy as possible.

The first rule of thumb has always been and will continue to
be that we should clean for health first and appearances second.
Homeowners are prone to waiting until there are visible
signs of dirt before cleaning. This is incorrect. Many surfaces
are designed to hide dirt and soil, so it can hold a lot of contaminants
before it begins to look “dirty.” Unseen contaminants
build up in the surfaces over time to the point where they may
have a negative effect on the occupants of the structure, especially
those with underdeveloped, sensitive or compromised
immune systems. The key is to avoid getting to the point where
this happens.

The process should be clean first and sanitize second. Think
of cleaning and sanitizing your home in the same way you think
of washing your hands. Cleaning is the process of removing
unwanted substances from a surface. When you wash your hands or clean a surface, you are removing the unwanted contaminants. When you use hand sanitizer, or sanitize over dirt and grime, you are trying to “kill” or destroy the contamination rather than just removing in. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing sprays are a great second option, but hand washing and cleaning are always the best choice for a first defense.

Here are some helpful tips for cleaning
any room:
Always clean top to bottom and work your way out the door.
Fold your cleaning cloth instead of balling it up. This ensures a smooth, consistent surface for wiping.
Always wipe in the same direction with a cleaning cloth, rather than a back and forth motion. The goal is to remove the dirt. Not to move it back and forth.
Heat accelerates most chemical reactions and result in a deeper cleaning.
Use as hot of water as recommended for your surfaces.
Even visibly clean surfaces need to be thoroughly cleaned before applying any sanitizing or disinfecting chemicals.
Use hot water when cleaning linens and
towels.

Make sure you regularly clean and sanitize things you use or touch on a
daily basis such as: cell phones, laptops, tablets, remotes, doorknobs, handles, steering wheels, etc.
Use a cleaner first to break down the dirt and grime. Follow up with an antimicrobial/ disinfectant.
Look for EPA registration and approval on the labels of your cleaners. They
should say they have been approved to fight SARS, H1N1 and emerging pathogen viruses. The EPA has a list of approved cleaners on their website.
Please be aware. No product or company can claim they can kill COVID-19 or inactivate it. There are currently no approved tests with the EPA that can test this claim. However, there are products that are approved to combat “coronaviruses” which is a broad term used for types of viruses. You can
look up more recommendations on the CDC and EPA websites.
For the sake of prevention and daily
life, cleaning and disinfecting your home is completely appropriate. However, if an infection or exposure has occurred with someone in your home, you need to call in the professionals.

Allow our professionally trained and educated workers at Hansen Steam Way to help make your home healthy once again. We have the proper equipment, materials and training to come in and clean and sanitize your home.

If exposure has not occurred, continue to clean your home with these helpful and basic tips while also following all professional recommendations. Once you feel safe to let people into your home
again, call Hansen Steam Way. We are ready to combat dirt, germs, grime and the messes your family made while social distancing at home.

PROTECT Against Termites

Termite damage is not always covered under homeowner’s insurance. That’s why it’s essential to get periodic home inspections and treatment.

In addition, here are some key ways to prevent infestations of all termite types.

Keep home foundations dry: Don’t regularly spray water on foundations. Slope gutters so that they drain away from the house.

Be careful with mulch. Don’t mulch around foundations. Keep wood mulch as far away as possible from the house. Also, remove any scrap wood and wooden debris. Quickly dispose of any fallen branches from around your house.

Avoid using timbers or railroad ties as edging around your house. Metal, plastic, or brick edging is a better choice for plantings.

Build decks and stairs on concrete pads. Regularly treat the area around posts and pads.

Cut clinging vines so they do not grow on the wall of the house. Termites love these.

Keep crawl spaces as dry as possible and sealed if feasible.

Make Your HEARING Last for Life

Though age can be a factor, hearing loss isn’t a definite condition of advancing years. By protecting your hearing, you could have excellent
hearing throughout your retirement years. The main cause of hearing loss
is on the rise: loud noise.

Much of the damage is from sound systems in movie theaters, cars, and home theaters. Also, power devices like leaf blowers and snow blowers
can be extremely harmful.


There are many things you can do to preserve your hearing. Don’t blast
the music. Use earplugs or insulated ear muffs when operating loud power
equipment. Learn to recognize the signs of hearing loss, and have your
hearing checked.

Early treatment of infection or disease affecting your ears is a proven
way to make the most of the hearing you have.


Unfortunately, while the damage cannot be cured or reversed, the
progression of hearing loss can be prevented by protecting the ears from
further high-noise exposure.

How Water Cleans Better

H2O is an amazing liquid. It is useful for manufacturing, transportation, firefighting, energy production, cooking, agriculture, recreation and of course, drinking.Water also has some unique qualities that make it an excellent cleaner.

Water is a polar molecule, meaning it has both positively and negatively charged sides. Without going in to too much chemistry in this article, this means that water can attract to and surround a great variety of substances.Think about everything that water can dissolve or dilute and you begin to understand why water is referred to as the “universal solvent”.

But water can’t dissolve everything. Dirt and grime usually adhere to skin, clothing, and other surfaces by combining with body oils, cooking fats, lubricating greases, and similar substances. Because these substances don’t mix with water, washing with water can’t remove them or the bonded soil. Sometimes it needs a little help.Here are some ways that we can help water clean better.

Emulsification- Detergent and soap molecules have a dual nature. One end of the molecule called the head, at-tracts to water; the other end, the tail, attracts to oily soils.The tails attach to the soil; the heads remain in the water. This action breaks the oil and soils into tiny soap-enclosed drop-lets called micelles, which disperse throughout the solution. The micelles repel each other because of their charged surfaces, so the oils can’t join together once separated. This process of separating and suspending oils in a water-based solution is called emulsification. With the oil no longer bonding the dirt to the soiled surface,the soap-enclosed oils and soils can easily be rinsed away.

Water softeners- Hard water usually contains minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium dissolved from rock and soil as water passes through earth. Hard water is a problem be-cause it reduces the effectiveness of soaps and detergents. Detergents react with calcium and magnesium so it takes more detergent to get the job done. The hard water reaction with soaps is what creates the sticky residue called soap scum.

Water softeners remove calcium and magnesium, increasing the effectiveness of cleaners. Soft water cleans better, rinses better and allows you to use less soap or detergent.

Temperature- Heat reduces the surface tension of water, making it easier to penetrate and dissolve soils. Heat increases the effectiveness of soaps and detergents, so they work more efficiently. Hot water also helps melt and dissolve greases, oils and waxes.

PH- One way to help water clean better is by adjusting its pH. Pure water has a neutral pH, neither acidic nor alkaline. By adding cleaning agents, we can change the pH of water. Since most common soils are acidic, most detergents are alkaline.When an alkaline detergent contacts an acidic soil, the soil is neutralized.In most cases, this results in more efficient cleaning, easier rinsing and less scrubbing.

Saponification- Saponification is a process that changes natural fats and oils into soap. Many years ago,people made their own soap by combining animal or vegetable fats with lye, a strong alkali. Similarly, using an alkaline detergent has a similar effect on fats and food oils, basically turning them into soap, which can then be rinsed away with water.

There is much more to cleaning than what we have discussed here.For best results, you need the right tools, techniques, training and experience. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a chemist or engineer to keep your house clean and healthy. Fol-lowing manufacturer instructions on appliances and cleaning products generally yields good results.

You can be confident that educated Hansen Steam Way technicians will use the right cleaning agents, equipment and techniques to produce fantastic results with “plain old” water!

Cleaning for a Pandemic

The entire world has been rocked with the emergence of the COVID-19 Corona virus. Information on the proper way to wash our hands, social distancing, grocery shopping, etc.have flooded our screens. But, what about our homes? Is there a proper way to clean to help ensure the homes where we have been spending so much time are actually healthy places?The answer is a resounding YES! There are methods and ways to keep our homes as healthy as possible.

The first rule of thumb has always been and will continue to be that we should clean for heath first and appearances second. Homeowners are prone to waiting until there are visible signs of dirt before cleaning. This is incorrect.Many surfaces are designed to hide dirt and soil, so it can hold a lot of contaminants before it begins to look “dirty.” Unseen contaminants build up in the surfaces over time to the point where they may have a negative effect on the occupants of the structure, especially those with underdeveloped, sensitive or compromised immune systems. The key is to avoid getting to the point where this happens.

The process should be clean first and sanitize second.Think of cleaning and sanitizing your home in the same way you think of washing your hands. Cleaning is the process of removing unwanted substances from a surface. When you wash your hands, or clean a surface, you are removing the unwanted contaminants. When you use hand sanitizer, or sanitize over dirt and grime, you are trying to “kill” or destroy the contamination rather than just removing in. Hand sanitizer and sanitizing sprays are a great second option, but hand washing and cleaning are always the best choice for a first defense.

Here are some helpful tips for cleaning any room:

Always clean top to bottom and work your way out the door.

Fold your cleaning cloth instead of balling it up. This ensures a smooth,consistent surface for wiping.o

Always wipe in the same direction with a cleaning cloth, rather than a back and forth motion. The goal is to remove the dirt. Not to move it back and forth.

Heat accelerates most chemical reactions and result in a deeper cleaning. Use as hot of water as recommended for your surfaces.

Even visibly clean surfaces need to be thoroughly cleaned before applying any sanitizing or disinfecting chemicals.

Use hot water when cleaning linens and towels.

Make sure you regularly clean and sanitize things you use or touch on a daily basis such as: cell phones, laptops, tablets, remotes, doorknobs, handles,steering wheels, etc

Use a cleaner first to break down the dirt and grime. Follow up with an antimicrobial/disinfectant.

Look for EPA registration and approval on the labels of your cleaners. They should say they have been approved to fight SARS, H1N1 and emerging pathogen viruses. The EPA has a list of approved cleaners on their website.

Please be aware.No product or company can claim they can kill COVID-19 or inactivate it.There are currently no approved tests with the EPA that can test this claim. However, there are products that are approved to combat “corona viruses” which is a broad term for types of viruses. You can look up recommendations on the CDC and EPA websites.

For the sake of prevention and daily life, cleaning and disinfecting your home is completely appropriate. However, if an infection or exposure has occurred with someone in your home,you need to call in the professionals. Allow our professionally trained and educated workers at Hansen Steam Way to help make your home healthy once again. We have the proper equipment, materials and training to come in and clean and sanitize your home.

If exposure has not occurred, continue to clean your home with these helpful and basic tips while also following all professional recommendations. Once you feel safe to let people into your home again, call Hansen Steam Way. We are ready to combat dirt, germs, grime and the messes your family made while social distancing at home.

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Five Smart Things To Do With Your Tax Refund

Do you get your tax refund and just blow it immediately? There are some smart things you can do to make your refund work for you.

Pay off some debt. Especially credit card debt. Because you end up paying so much in interest charges, paying down a high interest credit card is your best bet.

Put it away. Whether you are saving for a home, retirement, or college for your kids, putting extra money away now pays off in the long run. The longer it is earning interest, the larger the fund will be in the future.

Use it for a necessity. You may have been waiting to get those new tires or to go to the dentist. Now is the time to do it.

Make a donation. If you’ve been wanting to support a charity near to your heart, but haven’t had the funds, do it now. It will help on next year’s taxes as well, if you itemize and take the deduction.

Treat yourself. If you find that you still have money left over, do something nice for yourself that you’ve been putting off. Take a trip, throw a party, or buy a loved one a gift. After practicing some fiscal responsibility, you’ll deserve it.

Getting Ready for Spring Exercise

Many people spend most of the winter indoors, getting relatively little exercise. When warmer weather hits, everyone is ready to get up and outside to enjoy physical activity. With this comes increases in injuries during the spring months, when those who were sedentary during the winter jump right into strenuous outdoor exercise.

The key to preventing these types of injuries is to increase flexibility before engaging in exercise that requires extended ranges of motion. Gradually reestablish your routine, adding a new activity or more time to your workout each day. Warm up properly by stretching all of your muscles, reducing your chance of injury. You should also inspect your workout gear for excess wear and tear, especially shoes. If your shoes are worn or lacking in good support, you’ll want to replace those before you begin a new exercise regimen.

Finally, don’t be surprised if, even with proper stretching and equipment, you are sore after resuming your exercise routine. Ease into your workout and stop if you begin to feel pain. Let sore and tired muscles rest before pushing them to their limits again.

What’s in Your Dust?

The old-fashioned image of a happy housewife with a feather duster seems oddly quaint. Today, dust control and removal is serious business.

It is estimated that Americans spend over $10 billion a year on products to remove and control household dust. Add to that the vacuum cleaners, air filtration devices and furnace filters, and it is easy to see that dust is big business.

But have you ever wondered what is in household dust? Is it just a nuisance or are there health concerns?

Household dust contains all sorts of things from the outside atmosphere such as dust from volcanic eruptions, ash from forest fires, disintegrating meteors, silica, mica, clay and other minerals from wind erosion.

Other constituents of dust come from inside the house; human and animal hairs, paper fiber, dead skin, deteriorating paint particles, ash and soot from fire places, candles, stoves and furnaces; sugars, starches, salt, crumbs and other food particles.

Some particles are of concern to humans, especially allergy sufferers; pollen, air pollution, pet dander, mold spores, dead insects, dust mites and their waste.

There is growing concern about residues from pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers used both inside and outside our homes. Even roadway dust from automobile tires, brake linings and exhaust becomes household dust, and may contain carcinogens.

There’s also dust from construction, demolition, burning and deterioration of buildings. The list goes on and on. In fact, you might just say that almost everything you look at is turning to dust.

Let’s face it, there is no way to make your home completely dust-free. But you should prevent the buildup of dust to make your home a healthier place to live. Dust control doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s really just a matter of changing the way you do a few things.

You should install a high efficiency filter on your HVAC system and replace it monthly. For added protection, there are electronic air purifiers designed to be attached to your air duct system. Generally, these units require professional installation by a licensed contractor.

While it is nice to let the fresh air in, keep windows and doors closed when pollen is high or it is windy outside. Brush pets outdoors away from the house and use a damp pet wipe to remove remaining dander before allowing them back into the house.

When cleaning around the house, do your dusting with an electrostatic cloth, duster or damp wipe. Work from high to low and work your way out of the room. Wait about an hour before vacuuming to allow particles to settle.

Vacuuming is a great way to remove dust from your home. However, it is important that you use a vacuum cleaner that has an efficient filtration system. A vacuum with HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance) filtration improves indoor air quality while you vacuum. And don’t forget to vacuum your furniture too.

Eventually, vacuuming alone is not enough. Dust and other soils are bonded to carpet and upholstery fibers by sticky or oily residues. That’s why you need periodic professional cleaning by Hansen Steam Way. Our cleaning system not only removes the visible soil and spots that make your carpet and furniture look bad. It also removes deeply embedded pollutants and allergens along with the dust and dirt that damages your carpet. Your carpet and upholstery will look fabulous, last longer and your family will breathe healthier, cleaner air.

Prevent Cancer with a Better Lifestyle, Not Better Luck

A new study published in the journal, Nature, suggests that up to 90 percent of cancer cases are linked to lifestyle choices that are usually avoidable. This study refutes a previous assertion that many cases of cancer are simply due to “bad luck,” those circumstances that are out of our control.

What are those lifestyle choices that can result in a higher risk for developing cancer? They include a poor diet, lack of exercise, stress and pollution. You should also avoid smoking and excessive ultraviolet radiation to help lower your risk.

Researchers are interested in these findings to help doctors find more effective preventative treatments for their patients. If a patient believes that improving their lifestyle choices will have little effect on their health because it is mostly up to luck, they will have little incentive to work on those choices. But if doctors can show that cancer is due to many factors within their control, there is a better chance that improvements will be made.

Teaching Your Dog New Tricks

There are many theories about dog training, but most experts agree that dogs respond best to rewardbased training. New research shows that dogs can learn to “please their owners.” When starting to train your dog, think of it as increasing attachment between you and your pet. You see this type of attachment when your dog is very happy to see you after a long day away. This same emotion can be used to help your dog learn good behavior.

One way researchers have seen that dogs can increase this attachment is by simply letting them win when they play games with their owners. In the study, dogs played tug-of-war with a person, over and over. When the dogs were allowed to win the game, they were more interested in playing with that particular person. And best of all, the dogs who were allowed to win did not exhibit any unwelcome dominant behavior—they simply learned to attach more to their playmate.

This type of interaction leads to a sense of “working together,” which in turn can help your dog become more confident and obedient. Playing this type of game is also a good opportunity to teach your dog that at the end of the game, he or she should drop the rope at your command. If your dog knows that you will continue the game if he obeys, then you’ve rewarded the good behavior with an activity that your dog wishes to continue.

You know your dog best, so if you engage in this type of play and you notice that your dog becomes fearful or overexcited, it might be best to take a break. Occasionally, a dog will not enjoy these types of games, so pay attention to any negative behavior it might cause. But if you can set some firm rules for play and your dog enjoys the attention, it can lead to better behavior and a happier relationship.

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