Monthly Archives: July 2017

Ways to Keep Your Outdoor Allergens OUT

Woman With Allergy sneezing From Flowers and winter indoor allergiesIf you suffer from allergies, you know that outdoor allergies are part of summer. We’re not saying you’re happy about it; after all, who wants to be sneezing and wheezing all summer? What we can do is give you tips that keep those annoying allergies outdoors so you’re symptom-free (or at least symptom-less) every time you head inside to get away from those pesky outdoor allergens.

Designate an area where you leave those allergens.

Bringing in allergens inside is inevitable. Allergens stick to your clothes and hair whenever you are outside. When you head inside for some relief, don’t relax on the couch. Instead, take the clothes you wore outside off in a designated area where you can isolate the allergens (i.e. mudroom, laundry room, etc.). Take a shower to rid your body of allergens—and keep allergy symptoms away.

Get your carpets cleaned.

Carpets can trap allergens; a deep carpet clean removes those allergens. As tempting as it may be to head to the hardware store and rent a carpet cleaner, those machines often do not completely remove allergens as well as a professional carpet clean. Schedule a professional carpet clean ASAP to get the dirt and allergens out of your carpet and away from your body.

Keep your windows closed.

If you want to create an allergy-free zone, take a very basic step to keep outdoor allergies well, outside. Keep your windows closed at all times, and don’t open the screens on your storm door.

Research your next vacuum cleaner.

A regular vacuuming plays a key part in removing outdoor allergens from your home. Choose a vacuum with a HEPA filter or double bag to remove allergens from your flooring and from the air (other tips for purchasing the perfect vacuum cleaner here). This is one step that can help you so you can remove the allergens without having an allergy attack.

Keep your furnace and ducts clean.

Outdoor allergens can stick to your clothes and body, releasing them into the air. Those allergens can get sucked into your ducts and circulate throughout your home, exposing you to outdoor allergens in your home. Stop the “allergy spread” at the source. Purchase a furnace filter with a high Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (and contact an HVAC technician to make sure your furnace can handle a filter with a high MERV) and schedule a duct cleaning to keep them from circulating throughout your home.

Tips that Protect Your Wood Floors from Summer (& Maintain Their Beauty!)

warm wood floors in home that need deep cleanSummer is an awesome time of year for every kind of fun; all that fun can do a number on your hardwood floors. Between the sun, water from storms and pools, and humidity (an unavoidable part of hot Wisconsin summers!), wood floors are vulnerable to water stains, damage to the finish, scratches, and fading.

Fading

As much as we love the summer sun, UV rays from sunlight can affect both polyurethane and urethane finishes. Some kinds of wood can also fade from damaging sun rays. The result is a faded wood and finish that doesn’t resemble the original finish you chose during installation.

How to protect your floors from fading:

Window treatments are the cheapest and easiest ways to protect your floors. During the day when the sunlight is brightest, draw your curtains or lower the shades to keep the sun’s damaging rays at bay.

For a long-term solution, choose new windows with low-e glass (more information about low-e glass windows here). Windows with low-e glass have a protective film that filter damaging rays out of your home, protecting the wood and finish of your floors. If new windows aren’t on the horizon, purchase a protective film for your existing windows that can minimize the fading to your floors.

Humidity

High humidity is as much a part of our summer as ice cream and swimming. While it’s normal for wood floors to swell and shrink from humidity, repeated exposure to high humidity can crack or cause cupping to the floor boards.

How to protect your floors from high humidity:

The ideal humidity range for hardwood floors is between 35-55%. To ensure that the humidity in your home is in that range, purchase a hygrometer which can give you a read out of the moisture in the room or an appliance with a humidistat. If the humidity level is high, purchase a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air. Your air conditioner can also play a part in maintaining an ideal humidity range for your wood floors.

Water spills

Between an occasional (or daily or hourly) dip in the lake or pool, or the surprise summer storms that come with summer, it’s hard not to track in a water puddle or two. Unfortunately, water puddles can cause stains and water damage to your wood floors.

How to protect your floors from water:

If you want to keep all water out of your home, place rugs by all your exterior doors. Ask guests to remove their shoes their shoes by the door and keep a soft towel close at hand to clean up all spills as soon as possible. For a home by a lake, pool, or hot tub, keep towels in a cabinet close to the pool or lake so everyone can dry off before they track water in.

Sand & gravel

Sand and gravel that gets stuck on your shoes (and everywhere else-just ask any kid in a sandbox or beach goer!) can damage your finish and scratch your floors.

How to protect your floors from sand and gravel:

It’s almost impossible to keep all small debris out of your home, but you can minimize the damage by asking your friends and guests to take off their shoes at the door (use these other organization tips for your mudroom). Vacuum up any debris you find so you are not dragging the sand and gravel across the floor.

Cleaning Tips

What floors work great in a house with a pool?

Wet kids having happy time on summer swimming poolA pool is a godsend when the mercury spikes in your thermometer and the humidity hits (what feels like) an all time high. On the flip side, a pool can also be rough on the floors inside your home when you and your kids walk in dripping wet or tracking wet footprints across your floors.

Not just any kind of flooring can take those footprints and water spills. When choosing flooring for a room near water, consider these factors:

  • Water-resistance
  • Clean up
  • Durability
  • Cost

Floors that are ideal for homes with pools

Luxury Vinyl

Pros: highly durable, easy-to-clean water and spills, available in tile or wood look, planks can be installed as a DIY project

Cons: higher priced option, some grout cleaning required if installed with grout

Porcelain Tile

Pros: water, odor and mildew resistant, comes in a variety of tile patterns and colors, can be a do-it-yourself installation, very affordable

Cons: can be cold under bare feet, some grout cleaning required

Sheet Vinyl

Pros: durable, can handle water, comes in different colors and patterns, relatively inexpensive

Cons: look may not be as smooth as some of the other options

Carpet tiles

Pros: soft to the feet, easy-to-clean, squares can be replaced if dirty, creative look

Cons: spills can get in and under tiles, not as finished look as other options

Flooring cleaning tips for home with pool

Whatever floor you choose, keep your floor in like-new condition by using these cleaning tips: