Prepare Your Home for Your Vacation
Electricity: Turn off all lights that aren’t on timers. Unplug all non-essential electrical appliances and all electronics. Any one of these could spark a fire, and many use electricity even when they are not on, so unplugging them makes the most sense. Turn your electric water heater down or shut it off at the circuit breaker.
Gas: Set gas appliances to the “vacation” or “pilot” setting. Don’t shut off the pilot lights only – turning on an appliance with the pilot light off can cause a dangerous build-up of gas.
Water: Run the dishwasher and flush all toilets. If you don’t need the water on for plant and grass watering, shut off the water supply to your house to prevent flooding. Opening a faucet in the lowest level of your home will relieve pressure on your pipes and allow the system to drain slightly.
Furnace: Don’t turn your furnace off when you go away in the winter months. Turn the thermostats to 55 degrees, which saves money, keeps water pipes warm and prevents condensation on walls and windows.
Yard: Clear your walks and pathways, and then put away all equipment in a secure location, unless you’ve made arrangements for someone to use your stuff to shovel in your absence. Also, be sure your fence gates are locked, especially if you have a pool (even in winter, pools can be dangerous for kids).
Security: Set all lighting timers. Move your valuables out of obvious sight. Lock your garage door and unplug the automatic opener. Lock all doors and windows. Turn on the alarms when you leave.
MAKE A LIST! Because the last thing you want to do when you come back is to forget to turn something on, make a list of everything you shut off.
Find Or Create a Neighborhood Using NEXTDOOR
Nextdoor is the private social network for you, your neighbors and your community. It’s the easiest way for you and your neighbors to talk online and make all of your lives better in the real world. And it’s free. Thousands of neighborhoods are already using Nextdoor to build happier, safer places to call home.
People are using Nextdoor to:
- Quickly get the word out about a break-in
- Organize a Neighborhood Watch Group
- Track down a trustworthy babysitter
- Find out who does the best paint job in town
- Ask for help keeping an eye out for a lost dog
- Find a new home for an outgrown bike
- Finally call that nice man down the street by his first name
Nextdoor’s mission is to bring back a sense of community to the neighborhood, one of the most important communities in each of our lives.
My neighborhood has it’s own Nextdoor and it is being used a lot. We have had trucks coming through our area stealing items from front and back yards. When enough people in the neighborhood called the sheriff, we got action. We’ve also found a dog, had a day care parade, offered swimming lessons and on it goes. I know the people in my neighborhood and the elderly feel connected too!
Send Your Cleaning Questions to Anita at email@example.com
Wow, we had a Holiday Party and my friend spilled red wine
on my carpet. I tried to mop it up but now I have a stain. We are all red wine
drinkers, can you tell me what to do now and in the future if this happens
Yes, the merry making will be of glad tidings this season and red wine
on a carpet is NOT a merry situation. Once the stain has set like yours, it’s
best to call a professional to attempt to clean set in stains. However for the
future spills (and all red wine lovers have spills) follow these steps:
- Be sure to remove the sugar residue or it will cause a permanent stain.
- Blot up what you can with an absorbent pad.
- Apply a carpet stain remover. Or, flush the stain on area rugs or sponge carpeting with a solution of 1 quart warm water, 1/2 teaspoon liquid detergent, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar.
- Blot with a clean pad, rinse well with water and blot up all the excess liquid with an absorbent pad.
- Weigh down with a heavy object. When no more liquid is absorbed, allow to thoroughly air dry.
Candle wax is the most common type of wax to be spilled on carpet and one of the most difficult waxes to remove due to the high heat and coloring of the wax during the spill. Other types of waxes that can find their way into textiles include those used in polishes, cosmetics, hobbies, and cooking. These are usually easy to remove with extraction and dry solvents.
You may think that the removal of candle wax should be easy and at times removing the visible wax is easy, but there often are residues and colors left behind that make the job much more difficult than you thought!
Understand wax before cleaning
Wax can come from many sources, such as from beehives,
petroleum products, plants, animals, etc. Most waxes used in candles come from petroleum by-products,
commonly referred to as paraffin wax. It typically melts slow and allows the
user to enjoy a burning candle for hours, if not days.
In order to appreciate how wax can bind with fibers, think of the characteristics of fibers. Olefin and polyester are oil loving fibers, and will tend to bond faster and stronger with anything petroleum based like candle wax. Although it may not be noticeable during cleaning, to some degree you will often find olefin and polyester somewhat more difficult to remove the
“greasy” aspect of the candle wax, but at the same time, repelling the colors that can be in the wax. Nylon may be more forgiving to the waxy partof the spill, but not as forgiving to the colors in the wax. Wool is mostly a nightmare when it
comes to removing wax, but it can be done.
Removing the wax
Most carpet cleaners use hot water extraction, and by using high heat, can often extract the wax from the carpet using “chop
strokes”, which are short, forward and backward movements of the cleaning wand. If you decide to use this method, remember that adding heat to the fiber can also aid in driving color into the fiber, because the fiber dye sites are more absorbent during the cleaning process. In other words, try to get the job done in a few minutes; don’t let the fiber cool and dry, as that
makes the color more difficult to remove later on.
If you do not have the ability to remove wax with hot water extraction, you can use a heat transfer method with a typical clothes steam iron. Some recommend using unprinted paper with the heat transfer process, but often a better choice is to use a white cotton towel that can be disposed of after the spotting procedure is completed. The white towel is more absorbent
and protects the carpet better from burning or melting. Place the towel over the hardened wax and with the clothes iron on low, place the iron on the towel and allow it to soften the wax. Gently push the iron onto the towel, allowing the newly-melted wax to absorb into the towel. Repeat a few times, as necessary to remove as much visible wax as possible. I have also used the heat transfer method to remove red candle wax from light color wall.
Your hotel room is your home away from home, with a few exceptions — hundreds of strangers from every corner of the world have slept there, and the hotel staff may not have the same standards of cleanliness that you do at home. It’s nice to have someone fold up your towels and make your bed while you’re out exploring the world, but in terms of sanitization, a neatly made bed does not equal a germ-free room. A study conducted by the University of Virginia found that people infected with a cold who spent a night in a hotel room left contagious germs on nearly 35 percent of objects they touched. The study showed that a virus can live on objects like faucet handles and ice buckets for at least a day — disturbing evidence of what might be waiting when you wheel your suitcase into a suite. It’s highly unlikely that a slightly soiled bathroom floor will put your life in danger, yet an unclean hotel room could affect your health; the most common afflictions are colds or stomach viruses. Try the following tips and sleep more soundly on your next adventure. How Do I Make Sure My Hotel Room Is Clean? Put your black light away. We’ve all seen footage of people scanning dark rooms with the revealing black light; stains and smears, invisible in the daylight, pop up in the most unexpected and shocking places (not the pillowcase — anything but the pillowcase!). But traveling with this device, which is a great for dramatic effect on television, is far from necessary. Here are a few other, less obsessive things you can do to rest assured you have a clean hotel room: 1. Read the Reviews Find out what your fellow travelers are saying about the place. 2. Wash your hands Mom has been telling you to do this for ever- need we say more? 3. Ditch the bedspread- Most hotels do not wash the bedspread after each guest-yet most of us sit on the bedspread in some state of undress or another. 4. Disinfect It is always a good idea to quickly spritz the faucet, door knobs, clock radio and remote control to eliminate any little buggers (germs) left behind. Try these easy things to make your next hotel stay more enjoyable and possibly healthier. I personally like to find a brand and try to stick with that brand when I travel. While most hotels are either owned by corporate giants or are franchised- you can usually count on the brand culture being fairly consistent from one hotel to another. Happy Trails!