Archive for the ‘Wipe Down Wednesday’ Category

There’s nothing like have a get together at your home to motivate you to clean up your place and make it look presentable.  Or find find new places to stash all of you junk you said you were going to go through and organize but haven’t gotten around to because it just doesn’t sound like any fun.  Or both.

We had some family over for dinner last week which really gave us a kick in the butt to clean this place up.  Hang a couple more pictures that have been leaning against the wall and yes, randomly throw things into the back room at the last minute.  The thing of it is that with a new house come curiosity and tours of the place so people end up discovering the room door or closet door that really shouldn’t be opened unless you’re prepared for an avalanche.  Ah well, at least the bathrooms were clean and I was able to damp dust the trim.

This new-to-us house was built in 1920 and has plaster walls and I’m scared to put a nail or tack into them so we’ve just been putting our photos and artwork on the already existing nails and hooks which has been, for the most part, working.  I just hung out second to the last print in the hallway today and noticed a big old loop of dusty cobweb floating from the ceiling.

Yuck.  And how long had that been there?

That is honestly the first cobweb I’ve noticed since we moved into this house.  Cobwebs can be tricky one day.  Just when you’ve looked in every ceiling corner, wall surface there’s a big old dusty thing floating right in front of you.  It’s gross and I hope none of our weekend guests saw that monster.  Then again, they were probably distracted by the dumping ground that has become our back room/my studio space.  Which I’m happy to report I started cleaning up the day after the get-together.

But what I really wanted write about today was on the topic of humidity and indoor air pollution but I’ve been distracted by ozone and those air filtration machines that use ozone claiming it helps “clean” the air in your home.  It’s fascinating information and there’s a lot there so I’m going to spend a little more time with it before posting.

Happy dusting!


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The American Lung Association sponsors the training of Master Home Environmentalists to voluntarily (read:  free of charge) come out to your home and go through a Home Environmental Assessment List (HEAL).  It’s an incredibly thorough process – definitely worth doing and if you’re thinking of trying to sell your home, having this done might be a nice selling point to add to your list of home features (ie, radon testing).

Unfortunately, with our rotten economy the training program is being put on hold with only a very limited number of staff available (at least in the King County area) to go to homes to perform this survey. 

Lucky for you there is a do-it-yourself version which is also invaluable and if you fill out this form here – they’ll send you one.

And here is the American Lung Association’s site.

I honestly have no idea if there is an international equivalent to the American Lung Association.  If you are aware of such organization please let me know and include a link to share.  Thanks!

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House dust miteCold weather is upon us.  That means drier skin, which sloughs off, especially at night when your asleep all snug in your bed  This is where dust mites feast.  Lotion, moisturize and hydrate as much as you want but make sure you’re changing you bed linens (ideally) weekly and washing them in hot water to kill those little suckers.  Truth be told I just realized haven’t changed the sheets since we moved into this new place despite the fact that we just got yummy new fleece sheets from my parents.

Guess what I’m doing tonight.

It really does need to be hot water that you use too.  The warm and cold setting doesn’t seem to be quite as effective.  I’m a cold water user myself so I just make sure that this hot water load is a full one (as all wash loads should be) with sheets and other bed linens to make the most of it.

Update about the funk from last week:  I’ve taken to closing off the living room and ventilating out of the one window that opens (there’s 6 windows in this room altogether – I can’t believe only one opens!)  There’s no screen on the front door and with Sofia, two indoor cats and a semi-busy street mere feet away I’m keeping the front door closed.  Still researching but getting some good suggestions!  Thanks!

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It’s true, we’re still unpacking.  We’re heading into weeks now and I’ve got Move-in Burn-out.

And there’s a funky  smell in the living room.  (more…)

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House dust mites

Image by Gilles San Martin via Flickr

This photo totally freaks me out! (more…)

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Does your home have a shoes off at the door policy?  Do you have small, crawling-age children in your home or over to visit often?  Do you like to sit on the floor like I do?

Take a moment and think about all the places you’ve walked today.  I went to the pet store (needed a new litter scoop), the grocery store (needed more produce to make our super smoothies), storytime at the local library, then a playdate where we walked about a two miles on residential streets and dirt trail.  Oh, and then I went jogging at the track at our neighborhood junior high.  All in all, an average day.  Just off the top of my head I can think that my shoes were exposed to a variety of different animal poop, all sorts of different little bugs that I unknowingly squashed, LOTS and LOTS of chemicals from leaky cars on the residential roads and parking lots, chemicals used to clean the library carpets, pet and grocery store floors.

Sofia, at greater than 2.5 years old is still putting her fingers in her mouth – a lot.  We like to play on the floor and we’re pretty strict about shoes off when you get inside the house.  Everyone knows that I love my vacuum cleaner and yet when I steam cleaned a couple weekends ago that water was dirty – not black, but definitely dirty.

My point is:  if you want to decrease the amount of pollution exposure to you and your family take your shoes off at the door. 

This brings up another topic:  doormats.  They’re not just for decoration, ya know.  They come in a variety of textures but here’s some helpful information:  The bristly doormats are great for dislodging the big stuff, rocks, mud, debris that gets caught in the soles of your shoes and such.  It’s those smoother, and what I used to think, completely worthless doormats that are equally if not more important (if you had to choose just one).  The really low pile or nearly smooth doormats (similar to what you would find in the entrance to the mall or grocery store) are super effective in getting all those chemicals off.  Assuming you take the time to wipe your feet.

In an ideal world you would have a three-step entry process.  First, the bristly doormat to get the big stuff off, then the shorter/smoother mat for the chemically, liquidy, smaller stuff THEN you would take your shoes off and go ahead on into the house.

Sounds like quite a process, doesn’t it.  It does to me too.  The condo that we’re renting does have a very small tiled foyer and we’ve placed a small bench to prop feet on to take shoes on and off and we have the bristly mat outside the front door.  I think the smoother mat is key though and would like to have one just inside the door.  Shoe storage can be a challenge.  We’ve got racks on the floor and hanging racks in the coat closet.  We’re just throwing Sofia’s shoes into a cardboard box for now.  There are lots of ways to get creative with shoes storage.  A friend of ours even has a shoe rack of slippers for guests to wear while visiting – so thoughtful!   As we plan and get ready to start building our home we took a lot of time considering and planning the entry way to make it easy to follow and enforce the shoes off philosophy.

There’s all sorts of other ways you can bring pollutants into your home:  on your jacket/coat, the grocery bag you set on the ground to lock your car door or open the security gate to your building, or simply opening a window in your home to name a few.  Taking your shoes off at the entrance to your home (whether inside or outside) can be an easy lifestyle change with significant benefits.  But it is a lifestyle change, I’ve met quite a few people who wouldn’t think of takeing their shoes off inside their home and are really uncomfortable with the idea – hence calling this shoes-off policy a lifestyle change.  Give a try – your family will be healthier for it.

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