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Fall Cleaning Checklist
We all know the concept of "Spring Cleaning"; the time of year where everyone gets organized and gives their home a deep clean as…

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Tag: Tips for your Home

Pass the Salt!

We all know that salt is essential to life and goes great on fries, but did you guys know all the great uses it has in your home? Bust that salt out of your kitchen and see the good it can do throughout the house! Did you know salt has the capability to do all of these things?

It can make your coffee taste better. If your morning cup of coffee is tasting a little bitter, salt can fix your problem. Fill the pot with water and then add four tablespoons of salt. Run the salt water through the coffee pot without adding any grounds and then rinse out the pot. Your next cup of joe should be a lot less bitter.

It can remove soap scum from your glass shower doors. Ever get that really unattractive layer of film on your glass shower doors? That no matter how hard you scrub and with what cleaning solutions, it just won't come off? Use salt! Mix equal parts of baking soda and salt and add water until it forms a paste. With a sponge, rub the paste into the door, let it sit for about half an hour, and then rinse the paste away with water!

It can clean a sponge. To clean a dirty sponge, soak it overnight in a solution of 1/4 cup salt per quart of warm water.

It can remove wine stains. Spill wine on your carpet? Sop up as much liquid as possible and then sprinkle the affected area with salt. Let sit for about 10 minutes and then vacuum the area.

It can clean a flower vase. To remove mineral deposits from a glass flower vase, rub the stains with a mix of equal parts of salt and water. Then rinse with warm water!

It can erase lipstick stains from your glasses. Rub the stained edges of your glassware with a paste of salt and water until the lipstick disappears. Then wash the glassware as usual!

It can clean yellowed wicker furniture. Is your white wicker not very white anymore? Salt can fix it! Scrub the furniture with warm salt water with a stiff-bristled brush. Let the furniture dry in the sun. No rinsing required!

It can remove sweat stains. Remove sweat stains from your favorite shirts with a mixture of four tablespoons of salt per one quart of hot water. While the mixture is still hot, sponge it directly onto the stains until they disappear. Then just pop in the wash as you normally would!

It can clear out your garbage disposal.
To dislodge stuck waste in your disposal, pour a half a cup of salt down the drain, run cold water, and then turn the disposal on. The salt will also help neutralize those not so pleasant sink odors!

It can keep ants away. By sprinkling a line of salt at your home's entry points (like doors and windows), ants will stay out. They generally won't cross the barrier!

It can polish brass and copper.
To remove tarnish from copper and brass, mix a paste of equal parts salt, flour, and water. Rub the paste into the tarnished item with a soft cloth and then rinse away with warm, soapy water.

It can remove a tub ring. Mix one tablespoon of salt with a few drops of water to form a paste, and then coat the ring with it. After 2-3 minutes, scrub the ring and then rinse the paste away. If you ring is stubborn, you may need to repeat this several times before it's completely gone.

It can clean your wok. While your wok is still hot, pour in two or three tablespoons of salt and scrub it with a stiff-bristled brush. Wipe away the salt and then coat the wok with vegetable oil. In general, avoid cleaning your wok with water. It can cause the surface to rust.

It can remove grease stains. To remove grease stains from carpets and cloth furniture, mix one-part salt with four-parts rubbing alcohol. Rub this mixture into the grease stain. No need to rinse. The rubbing alcohol will evaporate.

It can erase drink rings. To erase ugly rings left by drinks and hot dishes on wooden furniture, mix a handful of salt with a tablespoon of vegetable oil until it's the consistency of paste. Gently rub the past into the ring until it disappears.

It can clean the refrigerator.
In a bowl, mix salt and soda water equally until it forms a thick paste. Using a soft cloth, wipe down the inside of your refrigerator and then rinse away with water.

It can stop suds.
If you're been too heavy-handed with the laundry or dish detergent, stop suds from forming by sprinkling salt on them immediately.

It can brighten colors in the wash.
If your reds look a little more like pink these days, rinse them in a saltwater solution in the sink before running them through the wash. The key to brightening your colors is to vigorously rub the salt into the clothing.

It can remove bloodstains from clothing.
Soak the stained garment in a saltwater bath as soon as you can. After about four hours, check to see if the blood is gone. Once it's gone - or at least faded - wash the clothes in a normal, hot cycle.

It can clean your iron. Over time, your iron may develop a gunky film. Remove it with salt! Sprinkle salt directly on a piece of paper and then run the hot iron over the salt. This will remove any residue and gunk.

It can deter weeds from growing.
If cracks in your driveway or walkway invite weeds to grow, spread salt between the cracks and then pour water over the salt to form a paste. This concoction will block the sun and prevent weeds.

It can prolong the life of your candles. To prevent candles from dripping away, soak them in a saltwater bath for a few hours when they're brand new. This will prevent them from dripping as quickly when you burn them. Just make sure they're completely dry before you burn the wick!

It can fill nail holes in the wall.
If you're ready to move a painting but aren't pumped about having a nail hole in your wall, grab the salt! Mix two tablespoons of salt, two tablespoons of cornstarch, and enough water to make a thick paste. Use the paste and a knife to fill the hole.

It can extend the life of your toothbrush.
To keep the bristles on your toothbrush firm a little longer, soak it in a saltwater bath for about an hour before your first use.

It can clean your broom.
To clean all that muck off a straw broom, soak its bristles in a 50/50 mixture of salt and hot water for about 20 minutes. Let the broom completely dry before you use it again!

It can sweeten your fruit.
Salt decreases your taste buds' perception of acidity and allows you to better taste the sugar compounds. If you usually reach for the sugar, try adding a little salt to your morning grapefruit instead.

It can add some flavor to your pasta.
It's a myth that adding salt to simmering water will make it boil faster. Salt does make water boil at a high temperature, but you'd have to add a huge amount to make the different noticeable. But, myths aside, a few sprinkles of salt will make your noodles taste better!

It can instantly chill champagne.
Put your champagne bottle into a bucket or tall container. Add a layer of ice and sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of salt. Continue to layer ice and salt until it reaches the neck of the bottle. Then add enough cold water to cover everything. The science: Salt on ice decreases the freezing temperature, and water increases the cold surface area touching your bottle. This trick also works for wine!

It can clean a stained coffee pot.
Put salt and ice cubes directly into an empty coffee pot, shake it, and then rinse. The salt and the ice will scour the coffee stains on the bottom. No sponge needed!

The Best & Worst Times to...

Ever have chores that you keep pushing off because you think there has to be a better time to do it? We all have things we need to do that we keep pushing off. Here are the best and worst times to do all kinds of things around your home.

...Clean your gutters.
Best: Early spring and late fall after all the leaves have fallen. Cleaning out your gutters twice a year prevents build-up of debris which weighs down your gutters.
Worst: Early fall before the leave are done falling. It'll undo everything you just accomplished! Also avoid this chore when the ground is wet and slick. That makes it very dangerous to be on a ladder!

...Get your chimney inspected.

Best: Spring when the chimney business is slow. Since the companies are so slow during this time, they might offer some discounts. This timing will also allow you plenty of time to make any repairs before the cold returns.
Worst: Don't do this during the fall!

...Paint your house's exterior.
Best: On a dry day when the temperatures should be between 50 and 95 degrees and shouldn't drop down below freezing at night. Early summer is usually the best.
Worst: When it's about to rain, humid, or chilly. Avoid super windy days too. It makes being on a ladder a little scary!

...Buy a major appliance.

Best: September and October. These months are just before the new model releases, and the stores get eager to make room in their inventory meaning discounts for you. Also look for sales during the weekends before or after holidays.
Worst: November, December, and January. These months are right when all the new models come out, and you'll be paying full price.

...Grocery shop.
Best: For the biggest savings, hit the store the same day the ad comes out. To avoid crowds, shop Monday or Tuesday between 10am and 3 pm if you can.
Worst: Weekends are going to draw the most people and have the biggest crowds. After 6 on weeknights will be busy too when everyone's trying to rush in after work.

...Clean your oven.
Best: When you don't need to be in your kitchen for a while. The oven's self-clean cycle can take three or more hours. Make sure to do it on a day when you can have your windows open, so you can air out those funky fumes.
Worst: Before bed or when you're not home. Oven grime could get smoky or even catch on fire.

...Plant a tree.
Best: Once the ground has thawed in the spring and before your tree has sprouted all its leaves. Or early fall.
Worst: Midsummer is the worst time to plant a tree. The heat and process of transplanting can stress the tree causing it to have less energy to settle its roots into its new home.

...Reseed your lawn.
Best: Fall if you live in a cool climate and spring or summer if you live somewhere warm. Grasses grown in cooler climates need cool soil and adequate rainfall to establish their roots. In warmer areas, grasses prefer temperatures in the 70s or higher to get started.
Worst: Midsummer for cool climates because heat poses a challenge for these grasses to grow. For warmer climates, the worst time to plant is in the early fall because the grass won't have enough time to establish roots before the temperatures drop.

...Plant bulbs.
Best: Six weeks before your area's first frost date for spring-blooming plants. For summer bloomers, plant them late in spring when the chance for frost is over.
Worst: Early in the spring when cold, wet soil can cause bulbs to rot.

Let's all get started on these chores and knock out that "honey-do" list!

Protect Your Floors This Holiday Season

The holidays are fast approaching and in no time, friends and family will be descending upon your home for yummy meals and holiday cheer. Get your floors ready for the increase in foot traffic with these quick fixes:

1. Save your floor cleaning for last.

There's a reason why people say "cleaning from top to bottom". Save the mopping, vacuuming, and sweeping for last, that way your floors are nice and clean before people start showing up.

2. Get creative with your coverings.

Place a festive door mat or carpet runner at the front door to absorb slush and snow. You'll be able to keep your freshly cleaned floors clean, as well as prevent slips or falls.

3. Put pads on the legs of furniture.

If you're planning on moving any furniture to make way for more people, consider putting felt pads on the bottom of chairs and couches. Not only will it make it easier to slide the furniture across the room, but it'll protect your carpet or wood floors from scratches.

4. Corral the clutter.

Do you walk into your home, only to trip over stray shoes? Add a boot tray by the door to catch melting snow or mud, that way it's not melting on the floor.

5. Call in the professionals.

There's something to be said about getting your carpets and floors professionally cleaned. If your carpets are looking a little worse for wear, it's probably time to call in the professionals.

How to Protect Your Home While on Vacation


More than half the population will be taking a vacation this summer. According to FBI statistics, the number of home robberies increases 10-18% during the months of July and August. Before you head off on your much-needed time away, don’t forget to take proper precautions to keep your home safe while you’re away.

1. Stop Your Mail
Nothing screams “We’re not home” like a pile of unopened mail in your mailbox. Put a hold on your mail at the post office, or ask a trusted neighbor or family member to come by a few time while you’re away to pick up your mail. Nothing deters burglars more than having someone come over a few times a day. Plus, they can water your house plants too.
2. Make Your Home Look Lived In
When you’re home, the blinds open and close, the cars go in and out of the garage, and the lights go on and off. When you’re away, the normal routine stops. Help create the illusion that you’re still home by investing in a light switch timer that turns your lamps on and off at certain times of the day. Leave your curtains or blinds exactly as you keep them normally. Move your expensive items, like cash or jewelry, out of plain sight if they’re visible from the window.
3. Pull the Plug
Unplug your television, toaster oven, coffee pot, and computer while you’re away to protect from power surges and save on your electric bill. Even while off, many of these electronics still use electricity. Disconnect your automatic garage door opener as well, so that burglars can’t open it with a universal remote.
4. Remove the spare key
Collect any spare keys hidden around your house. If a person decides to burgle your house, the first place they’ll look is under door mats, in a potted plant, or around the door frame.  Instead, give a copy of your key to a trusted neighbor or nearby friend for emergencies. Make sure the key doesn't have any identifying marks on it, like your name or address.
5. Keep It To Yourself
In today’s social media world, it’s so easy to post about upcoming vacations, photos of yourself at the beach, or check-in at a vacation resort. Unfortunately, it’s not just your friends and family that can see those posts. Would-be burglars can easily check social media sites to see who’s home and who’s away. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.
Do you have anything you would add to our list? Let us know on our Facebook page!

Summer Safety Reminders

Now that summer is officially here and the kids are getting out of school, it's important to remember to brush up on important safety tips that will keep you and your family safe during the warmer months ahead.



Sun Protection:
Sunscreen is a MUST, even on cloudy days. Sunburns can lead to skin issues down the road, so be sure your and your kids lather up at least every 30 minutes with a product that has both UVA and UVB protections and an SPF of at least 15-30 (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Association of Dermatology) . Try to find the shade as much as possible, and even consider wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for further protection against the sun's rays.

Beware of Bugs:
Warm weather doesn't just attract people to the great outdoors. Mosquitos, ticks, and other insects are out and can carry dangerous diseases. When you're outside, be sure to use an insect and tick repellent containing DEET. Don't forget about protecting your four-legged family members too. Pets can be put on a monthly flea and tick control program to protect them while they're outside.

Beat the Heat:
As temperatures rise, your body loses a lot more fluids, so it's important to stay hydrated. Don't wait until you're thirsty to start drinking fluids. By that point, you're already dehydrated, so make sure to get plenty of fluids before, during, and after being outside.



Grilling Tips:

Grilling out is a favorite activity during the warmer months, but make sure you're prepared before you head outside. Don't let children near the grill. It can still remain hot for a long time after it's done being used. Also, make sure all meats are cooked to the appropriate internal temperature to avoid food-bourne illnesses.

This summer can be fun and enjoyable for everyone in your family. With a safety plan, you can make sure that everyone has a great few months.