Seven Green Cleaning and Lifestyle Tips to Reduce Flu Risk
Maid Brigade Shares Ways to Limit Flu Exposure
More than 200,000 people, including an average of 20,000 children under the age of five, are hospitalized each year because of flu-related complications – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children, the elderly, and people with long-term health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are at an even greater risk.
The CDC says a flu vaccine is one of the best ways to guard against the flu and recommends that everyone six months and older get the vaccine every year. National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW), Dec. 4 to 10, was established by the CDC to highlight the importance of continuing influenza vaccination and encourage greater use of flu vaccine after the holiday season.
Maid Brigade – the leading green cleaning services company – offers the following green cleaning and lifestyle tips to help protect you and your family from this potentially life-threatening illness.
- Thoroughly wipe down and disinfect doorknobs, desks, bedside tables, bathroom surfaces, kitchen counters, and children’s toys, as these are the most germ-contaminated areas of the home. According to the CDC, flu viruses (including H1N1) can survive between eight and 12 hours on paper or cloth and 24 to 48 hours on non-porous surfaces like doorknobs or desks.
- Use natural products such as vinegar and water when cleaning and disinfecting to limit exposure to toxic chemicals found in commercial cleaners.
- Wash hands with warm, soapy water for at least 15 seconds. When washing hands in public places, use a paper towel to shut off the faucet and to open the bathroom door on the way out to limit contact with flu germs.
- Drink a lot of fluids including water, hot tea, and soup to stay hydrated. Peppermint flavor teas clear nasal congestion and open up your airways. Healthy soup options can provide a full serving of phytochemical-rich root vegetables and protein-rich meats or beans.
- Take vitamins every day like Vitamin C and Zinc. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant proven to shorten the duration of the flu. Zinc is an herb that has been used for centuries to help bolster the immune system.
- Exercise daily to maintain a healthy body weight and reduce stress. Taking a brisk walk for just 30 minutes a day is a great way to elevate your heart rate and escape the stressors of the day.
- Limit contact with others who have flu symptoms. If you or your children contract the flu, stay home from work or keep children out of school.
For more tips to protect your family from the flu, visit www.cdc.gov/flu.
About Maid Brigade: Maid Brigade cares about the health of today’s families. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is the national leader in green cleaning practices and has a longstanding legacy of offering the latest in maid services and technologies. Maid Brigade is the first and only Green Clean Certified® housekeeping services franchise that implements a certification program for green house cleaning so customers know that they’re getting a green cleaning that is safe and truly green. For more information on Maid Brigade or for healthy living cleaning tips visit www.maidbrigade.com or http://blog.maidbrigade.com.
Seven Ways to Combat Summertime Mold
Warm weather, seaside vacations, flip-flops and shorts – summer is finally here! A cheery time of year filled with BBQs and the beach, summer is also the peak time for mold allergies. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), the number of mold fungi species range from tens of thousands to perhaps three hundred thousand or more!??As warm and humid conditions increase so does the ability for mold growth. Mold grows in damp conditionswhere it reproduces and sends spores into the air. Inhaling these particles may trigger allergy like symptoms and nasal stuffiness, eye irritation, wheezing, or skin irritation, according to the CDC.??Marie Stegner, consumer healthadvocate for the Green Clean Certified® cleaning company Maid Brigade, provides seven green cleaning tips to help eliminate exposure to mold.
1. Kill mold naturally. Pour white distilled vinegar into a spray bottle and spray on the moldy area. Let it set without rinsing.
2. Toss the bleach. Hydrogen peroxide kills mold effectively on clothes, floors, bathroom fixtures, walls and even kitchen appliances. It’s a great alternative to chlorine bleach because it’s safe for families and the environment. It also doesn’t leave behind toxic residue or produce toxic fumes as chlorine bleach does.
3. Keep it dry. Keep the humidity level in your home between 40 to 60 percent. Use a dehumidifier during humid summer months andespecially in damp spaces, like basements.
4. Clean humidifiers. Clean humidifiers on a regular basis to eliminate it as a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
5. Store with care. Put away collectibles and winter clothes in plastic storage bags to prevent mold growth on clothes and other household items not in regular use.
6. Use caution when wet. Dry all kitchen and bath surfaces thoroughly after use. Also check for leaks in the plumbing, walls and roof that can encourage mold growth.
7. Keep air moving. Double-check the ventilation throughout the home. Use exhaust fans that vent outside the home in the kitchen and bathroom. Ensure clothes dryers vent outdoors as well.
About Maid Brigade?Maid Brigade cares about the health of today’s families. Withmore than 25 years of experience, the company is the national leader in green cleaning practices and has a longstanding legacy of offering the latest in maid services and technologies. Maid Brigade is the first and only Green Clean Certified® cleaning services franchise that implements a certification program for green house cleaning so customers know that they’re getting a green cleaning that is safe and truly green. For more information on Maid Brigade or for more healthy living cleaning tips visit maidbrigade.com or http://blog.maidbrigade.com/.
Eco-Friendly Ways to Get Rid of Garden Pests
Pests are a problem in many gardens and can ruin flower bed and vegetables. When dealing with pests, choose methods that are safe for both plants and humans. Avoid using harsh chemicals as much as possible. Here are some eco-friendly tips to help get rid of pesky garden pests.
To eliminate insects around the garden, take an empty 2 liter soda bottle with 1 cup apple cider vinegar and 1 cup sugar. Slice up a banana peel into small pieces, put into the bottle, add 1 cup cold water, shake. Tie a piece of string on a low tree branch or place it on the ground to kill pests.
Get rid of mealy bugs, one of the most insidious and common pests, by soaking q-tips in white vinegar. Nip them in the bud by dabbing insects with full strength white vinegar.
Keeping hungry insects away from vegetables by shredding aluminum foil into strips and mixing them in the garden mulch. The foil will reflect light back up onto your plants. Try mixing old tinsel from your Christmas tree into your mulch. It will serve the same purpose as shredding aluminum foil.
Try chopping up hot peppers and combine them with 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper and ½ gallon of water. Boil the mix for about 15 minutes and let cool. Strain through cheesecloth and add 1 tablespoon dishwashing liquid. Put into a spray bottle and spray the plants every 5 days or so.
Planting companion plants in your garden will deter insect pests. Aromatic plants such as basil, tansy, marigolds and sage will send a signal to bugs to go elsewhere. Try planting some near your prized vegetables. Mint, dill, thyme and sage are great near cabbage family plants. Best of all the savory herbs are edible.
Spray away garden pests. Keep some old spray bottles on hand to use around the garden.
1. Fill one with undiluted white vinegar to kill weeds and grass poking out of the cracks in your concrete. Vinegar can also help kill ants. DO NOT spray vinegar directly on the plants, the high acidity could kill them.
2. For an effective insecticide that works on soft bodied pests, but won’t harm your plants: Mix several cloves of crushed garlic, ¼ cup canola oil, 3 tablespoons hot pepper sauce and ½ teaspoon liquid soap in 1 gallon of water, mix well. Put into spray bottle, shake well before using.
To foil those cutworms that destroy your seedlings. Cutworms kill seedlings by encircling the stem and severing it. To protect your seedlings stick a toothpick in the soil about ¼ inch from each stem.
Make collars for the vegetables by using empty milk cartons to discourage grubs and cutworms from attacking your young tomato and pepper plants. Cut off top and bottom of container and when ground is soft, push them into the ground around the plants.
Get slugs and snails out of your garden. Take a container of salt and douse the offenders. They won’t last long. Since they are mostly water, salt acts like a drying agent.
Plagued by earwigs? Roll up a wet newspaper and put a rubber band around it to keep it from unraveling. Place it in the area where you have seen the insects and leave it overnight. In the morning it will be full of bugs. Carefully place the newspaper in a plastic grocery bag, tie in a knot and put in the trash. Repeat until they are all gone.
Make a natural pesticide by using your blender. Puree 4 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper and one quart of water. Set aside and dilute 2 tablespoons soap flakes in 2 gallons of water. Add contents from your blender; shake or stir well.
Get bugs off your plants. Just when the plants are coming up, mix black pepper with flour and sprinkle it around the plants. Bugs will be gone!!
Do you have moles or gophers popping up in or near your garden? Try putting dirty used cat litter down the hole. They will leave to find a home somewhere else.
Deter deer from your garden by spraying your bushes with cayenne pepper and water mix.
If there are neighborhood cats that think you garden is their private cat box, foil them by putting orange peels and coffee grounds around your plants. Also acts as a great fertilizer.
Keep four-legged pests out of your garden by soaking several rags in white vinegar and place on stakes around your vegetables. Re-soak the rags every 7-10 days.
The shiny metallic balloons that we all receive on birthdays, anniversaries, etc. can be put to good use in your garden. Simply cut them into vertical strips and hang them from poles around your vegetables and on fruit trees to repel birds, rabbits and squirrels.
Many people swear that a zip-lock bag filled half-way with water and attached over entry-ways will repel flies.
Maid Brigade House Cleaning Services cares about you and your family. For more information on healthy green cleaning and green living, please log on to www.greencleancertified.com and maidbrigade.com. For more information on “Household Cleaning Products and Breast Cancer”, please watch our video at greencleancertified.com/greentv.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011 by Marie Stegner
Ten Cleaning Tips to Combat Spring Allergies
ATLANTA-It’s time to open the windows, break out the flip-flops, and start up the barbeque – spring is here. But for nearly 36 million Americans, the blooming of flowers and trees comes with a major buzz kill: allergies.
Natural allergies are getting more severe, increasing five percent per decade since the 1970s, affecting even those who have previously been allergy-free. Some of us are more sensitive than others when it comes to airborne allergens. There is evidence suggesting a link between certain chemicals found in some home cleaning products and breathing ability.
Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for the Green Clean Certified® housecleaning company Maid Brigade, offers 10 cleaning tips on how to combat spring allergies. So step outside and enjoy the sunshine, minus the tissue box.
Replace cleaning products. Choose natural residential cleaning products without harsh scents. Plain soap, water, salt, baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, along with a little elbow grease and a scrubbing sponge, can take care of many routine-cleaning tasks.
Air it out. There is no replacement for good ventilation, so air out the house as weather permits and put on exhaust fans when cooking. Also use HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) purifiers and systems to remove airborne allergens and reduce symptoms caused by house dust allergies.
Spin cycle. Bedding, comforters, curtains, towels and other soft surfaces trap dust mites. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, dust mites are the most common trigger of allergies and asthma. Wash bedding, comforters, towels and curtains in hot water reaching at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
Scared of the dark? Basements, vents and crawl spaces can hide and trap allergens and household dust, pushing them into clean areas of the home. These areas should be cleaned on a regular basis because they easily hide areas with high moisture and humidity, promoting mold growth and circulation of spores in the home.
Protect yourself. Use a dust mask while cleaning if needed. This will limit the exposure to airborne allergens in the home and decrease allergy symptoms.
Smart vacuuming. Most maid cleaning services like Maid Brigade use HEPA vacuums when tackling home cleaning projects. Traditional vacuums put allergens back into the indoor air triggering house dust allergies while HEPA filter vacuums are designed to trap 99.7 percent of all small particles, such as allergens, and prevent their recirculation.
Bedroom bookshelf solution. Bookshelves collect dust and dust mites that can trigger symptoms like itchy eyes, congestion and sore throats. Get some relief by cleaning these spaces thoroughly at least once a week. For a more permanent solution, remove the bookshelves from the bedroom entirely.
Air regulation. Use dehumidifiers inside the home and change their filters regularly.
Chill out. Every time the refrigerator opens and closes, mold spores collected in the door seal are released into the air. As spilled liquids and food crumbs find their way into the crevices, mold begins to grow, which can trigger allergies. Kill these mold spores and relieve symptoms with a weekly cleaning. When wiping the seal down, use cotton swabs to get into the crevices where food, mold and dust collect.
Wash and dry. Dry all surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen after use, and check for leaks in the plumbing that can result in mold growth.
About Maid Brigade
Maid Brigade cares about the health of today’s families. With more than 25 years of experience, the company is the national leader in green cleaning practices and has a longstanding legacy of offering the latest in maid services and technologies. Maid Brigade is the first and only Green Clean Certified® cleaning services franchise that implements a certification program for green house cleaning so customers know that they’re getting a green cleaning that is safe and truly green. For more information on Maid Brigade or for more cleaning or healthy living tips visit www.maidbrigade.com, www.greencleancertified.com/greentv, or http://blog.maidbrigade.com.
Spring Season Countdown: A No Fret Guide to Easy Spring Cleaning
The end of winter is near. Finally! It’s time to shed those pesky winter blues and prepare the home for warmer weather, daffodils and longer days. Ahhhh, sounds nice doesn’t it?
Marie Stegner, consumer health advocate for the leading housecleaning company Maid Brigade, provides a no fret guide to buckle down and clean for spring without breaking a sweat. Dust bunnies beware.
Get rid of baggage. Try on clothes that are not worn frequently. Get rid of anything that does not look good, fit or hasn’t been worn in a while. Donate these clothes, give them to a friend, turn them into rags, or sell them for some extra cash.
Out of sight, out of mind. Moving household items to the basement or attic is an easy way to put clutter out of sight and therefore, out of mind. For a deep home cleaning, attack these piles one at a time and enjoy tidy storage areas once and for all.
Chill out. Clear the top of the refrigerator. Piled up cereal boxes and kitchenware prevents heat from venting properly and causes the fridge to use extra energy. Cleaning the coils on the back of the fridge and the grill underneath will also reduce the energy the fridge needs to work properly.
What’s cooking? To clean oven surfaces, coat them in a paste of water and baking or washing soda and let stand overnight. Then, scrub off the paste while wearing gloves.
Broom makeover. Many house cleaning services will cover broom bristles with old nylons to sweep dusty areas. Why? The nylon will pick up dust bunnies instead of scattering them.
Switch your sheets. Polyester/cotton and permanent press cotton sheets are treated with a formaldehyde finish, which cannot be washed out. Common symptoms from this immunotoxicant include runny nose, itchy eyes, and other cold and flu symptoms. Avoid these blends as often as possible.
Let the sun shine in. When reorganizing a home office, library, or other rooms where studying or reading takes place, set up desks, chairs and tables by a window that receives ample natural sunlight. This will reduce the need to turn on overhead lights.
Leave shoes at the door. Asphalt, pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals often get stuck to the soles of shoes. Wearing shoes inside means exposing children and pets to harmful chemicals. To avoid more house cleaning than is necessary, make one simple rule and stick to it: No shoes in the house!
Smell the roses. Avoid air fresheners. An open box of baking soda removes odors. Cedar blocks or sachets of dried flowers and herbs provide gentle scents, but avoid any potpourri that lists unspecified “fragrance” on the label.
Spin cycle. To remove stains from clothing (especially salt-stained winter wear), soak fabrics in water mixed with borax, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, washing soda, or white vinegar for a natural approach.
About Maid Brigade
Maid Brigade cares about the health of today’s families. With more than 25 years of experience, the professional home cleaning company is the national leader in green cleaning practices and has a longstanding legacy of offering the latest in maid services and technologies. Maid Brigade is the first and only Green Clean Certified® cleaning services franchise that implements a certification program for green house cleaning so customers know that they’re getting a green cleaning that is safe and truly green. For information on Maid Brigade or for more cleaning and healthy living tips visit www.maidbrigade.com, www.greencleancertified.com/greentv or http://blog.maidbrigade.com.