Wednesday, June 12, 2019

3 Household Tasks to Complete Before a Vacation

It’s finally summer, and you are more than ready to leave for vacation. But before you go, here is a reminder of some important household tasks to complete first! These tips will give you both peace of mind while you’re gone and an in-tact home when you get back.
1. Suspend your mail.
When you leave for vacation, sometimes your mail doesn’t wait for you to get back. Leaving your mail out is a clear sign to everyone that you aren’t home. If you don’t like the sound of that, you can do two things to prevent this:
  • The first is asking a family member or a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail for you.
  • If this isn’t an option for you, you can go into your local post office and ask them to hold your mail. They will typically be able to hold your mail from anywhere between 3-30 days, and these arrangements can be made up to 30 days in advance.
2. Take out your garbage.
Even though you may have a lid on your garbage can, it doesn’t mean that the garbage isn’t still there. If left unemptied, it may attract insects such as flies and ants. These are pests that you certainly do not want to greet when you arrive home. Remember to clean out your sink as well, as dirty sinks are very attractive to cockroaches. If by some miracle bugs don’t come, bacteria and germs sure will, which can lead to unwanted illness in your home.
3. Shut off your main water valve.
Shutting off your main water valve is one of the most important things you can do before leaving for vacation. It is the smartest and easiest way to keep your house from flooding while away. If the water remains running while you’re gone, the pressure built up from its non-use can cause a small leak or even a burst to flood your home. The water damage caused by leaks and flooding can prove to be a substantial expense, but shutting off your main water valve will take away any chance for a leak to surface.   

If you do return home and suspect water damage, make sure to contact GreenPro Cleaning and Restoration to perform a professional visual survey to determine any problems. Just remember never to touch wet or damaged items with bare hands, nor should you breathe in damp or odorous air. Mold and bacteria thrive in such environments and could cause severe health issues to those that come in contact with it.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

5 Reasons to Buy a Dehumidifier

We often hear about the benefits of keeping a humidifier in your home, but many people would actually benefit more from owning a dehumidifier. As its name implies, dehumidifiers help remove moisture from the air, and they come in different models and capacities--but what is it that they can really do for you?
Aside from removing the mugginess from your home’s air, here are 5 notable benefits that come with owning a good dehumidifier.
1. Your home will be less susceptible to mold and mildew.
Mold and mildew thrive in warm, moist environments. If your home is humid, that means it has a lot of moisture in the air, which can contribute to the mold and mildew growth. This growth can occur on walls, ceilings, curtains, furniture, and even clothing.
Mold spores release musty smell-gas, reduce your home’s indoor air quality, and can aggravate allergies, asthma, and other chronic respiratory illnesses. It’s much better to prevent mold in the first place than to fight to control it after it has spread. This makes a dehumidifier an anti-mold weapon that you definitely want in your arsenal.
2. You’re less likely to have issues with dust mites.
Just like mold spores, dust mites also thrive in environments that offer warmth and moisture. Contrary to what most think, people with “dust allergies” are, in fact, allergic to dust mites. Reducing the moisture in the air with a dehumidifier and frequently laundering your bedding in hot water can help prevent and combat a dust mite problem in your home.
3. You won’t have to work your conditioner as hard.
Humid air tends to retain heat more than dry air. Therefore, when the air is more humid in your home, your air conditioner has the task of cooling muggy air that wants to “hang onto” its heat. With a dehumidifier removing excess moisture from your home’s air, your air conditioner will be able to operate more efficiently and cool your home more quickly. That means that your air conditioner won’t have to work as hard and can last longer as a result.
4. Food won’t go bad as quickly.
Many foods tend to go stale and grow mold faster in a humid environment. This is especially true of bread, cereal, and many types of tree fruit. If you feel like you’re constantly throwing out food that has gone bad before you’ve had a chance to eat it, a dehumidifier might help!
5. Clothes will air-dry more quickly.
Using an outdoor clothesline can increase the amount of dust and pollen that get onto your clothes, so many people choose to air-dry their clothes indoors. However, if the air is humid in your home, it might seem like ages before your clothes dry all the way. Many people who purchase dehumidifiers find their laundry dries indoors much faster than before.
Has excess humidity created a mold problem in your air ducts, attic, or crawl space? Contact GreenPro Cleaning & Restoration for an earth-friendly approach to a cleaner, healthier home.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Why You Need to Stop Using Products with VOCs Today

Despite how prevalent volatile organic compounds (VOCs) have become, the average consumer still doesn’t know much about them, including what VOCs are, where they come from, and what makes them harmful. What makes this an even bigger problem is that VOCs are much more common than most people realize, and many people are exposed to them on a daily basis.
Arm yourself with this basic knowledge about VOCs in order to make your living spaces healthier for you and your loved ones.
What Are VOCs?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are compounds that are easily able to become gases or vapors. Many VOCs are toxic and cause harm to humans if inhaled or touched with direct skin contact. Here are examples of well-known VOCs that can commonly be found in homes:
  • Formaldehyde
  • Acetone
  • Butanal
  • Dichlorobenzene
  • Ethanol
  • Toluene
  • Benzene
  • Terpenes
Where Can VOCs Be Found?
VOCs enter the air from burning fuel sources (wood, coal, natural gas, gasoline, etc.) and are also released from a number of products that you can find around the average American home. For example, wallpaper, furniture polish, and nail polish remover are known to release acetone. Some carpeting can release benzene.
Cleaning and deodorizing products are the most infamous household sources of VOCs. Ethanol is released by a number of laundry and dishwasher detergents and glass cleaners. Air fresheners that are not composed entirely of natural ingredients produce VOCs including terpenes, benzene, xylene, ethanol, toluene, and formaldehyde. Contrary to what their name implies, air fresheners’ concentration of VOCs actually makes them terrible for your home’s indoor air quality.
What Health Effects Are Associated with Exposure to VOCs?
Exposure to VOCs can result in a number of negative health effects. If you have short-term exposure to VOCs, you may experience effects such as:
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Nasal/throat/eye irritation
  • Vision problems
  • Memory problems
If you have long-term exposure to VOCs, you may also experience effects such as:
  • Loss of coordination
  • Central nervous system damage
  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Cancer
Tips for Reducing Your Exposure to VOCs
  • Remember when shopping that labels can be deceiving. Even products that claim to be “green” can contain a number of toxic chemicals.
  • When looking for adhesives and paint, try to find options free of benzene.  
  • Instead of using products with acetone or alcohol, opt for water-based alternatives.
  • Instead of mothballs, repel moths with cedar chips or bags of lavender.
  • Use glass over plastic whenever possible. When plastic is necessary, make sure it’s BPA-free.
  • Opt for soaps and cleaning products made from all-natural ingredients (like baking soda or distilled white vinegar) or plant-based ingredients.
At GreenPro Cleaning & Restoration, all of our products are bio-safe, and all of our methods are bio-friendly. We do not use any toxic chemicals, and our cleaning systems produce superior results for better indoor air quality and healthier living conditions.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

10 Things You Didn't Know You Could Do with Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar’s acidity and natural properties as a disinfectant have made it a household cleaning staple for generations. In fact, vinegar has more uses around the house than most people even realize. Check out these 10 brilliant hacks that make use of this non-toxic, all-natural ingredient to achieve a cleaner, healthier home.
5 Uses for Vinegar in the Kitchen
  1. Eliminate grease. Tackling some particularly tough grease on a dish? Amp up some hot soapy water with a tablespoon of vinegar to cut through the grease and deliver sparkling results.
  2. Clean your dishwasher. To prevent soap residue from building up in your dishwasher, add 1 cup of vinegar to a complete cycle on a monthly basis. (This will also help remove spots on your glassware!)
  3. Clean your microwave. If grime is clinging to the interior of your microwave oven, microwave a mixture of 1 cup of water, a ¼ cup of vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice long enough to create ample steam. As the mixture steams, it will start to break down the grime and make it easy to wipe away with a clean rag.
  4. Shine stainless steel. If your stainless steel sink or cookware is getting spotty, polish it with a clean rag that’s damp with vinegar to restore its shine.
  5. Freshen up a kitchen drain. You can combat a smelly sink by pouring 1 cup of vinegar down the drain on a weekly basis. Make sure to wait at least half an hour before running any water.
3 Uses for Vinegar in the Laundry Room
  1. Clean your washing machine. To freshen up your washing machine and break down soap residue, add 1 cup of vinegar to your washing machine, and let it run through a regular cycle without any clothes.
  2. Eliminate stains. Forget Oxiclean. If there’s a stubborn stain on your favorite shirt, rub vinegar into the stain to make it easier for your washing machine to remove. Afterward, wash the garment in the highest heat that the fabric can tolerate.
  3. Brighten colors. Adding a ½ cup of vinegar to your washing machine’s rinse cycle will help bring out the colors in your clothing and remove lint as well.
 2 Uses for Vinegar in the Bathroom
  1. Eliminate mineral build-up on plumbing fixtures. Faucets and showerheads can become clogged with calcified minerals, but soaking them overnight in vinegar can cause the minerals to dissolve. You may need to tie a plastic bag full of vinegar onto plumbing fixtures that you can’t remove so that they can be soaked properly.
  2. Clean glass shower doors. To eliminate the hard water spots and soap residue on your shower door, wipe the glass with a vinegar-soaked sponge or cloth. Rinsing is not recommended.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How to Clean Your Microwave with All-Natural Ingredients

If you’re like most Americans, your microwave oven is an essential home appliance that you use on a regular basis. Because microwaves get put through so much use, that means that they also end up needing a good cleaning more frequently than almost any other appliance.
How often have you looked inside your microwave to find crumbs, specks of liquid, and a blob of who-knows-what on the walls or turntable? It’s not exactly the squeaky clean and sanitary conditions in which most people would prefer to warm up their food. By that same token, scrubbing and disinfecting your microwave with bleach or other harsh chemical cleaners also raises some health concerns.
Luckily, there’s good news: you can clean and disinfect the inside of your microwave using 100-percent, all-natural ingredients.
Here is what you’ll need:
  • ½ cup of distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup of clean water
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed or bottled lemon juice OR a few drops of lemon essential oil
  • 1 microwaveable bowl
  • 1 clean rag
Step 1: Get Your Mixture Ready
Pour the cup of water and the ½ cup of vinegar into your microwaveable bowl. The smell of the vinegar can be a little too strong for some people, so to neutralize the odor, add the 3 tablespoons of bottled or freshly squeezed lemon juice or a few drops of lemon essential oil.
Step 2: Heat It Up
Place the bowl into your microwave, and set it on high for at least 4 minutes. The mixture needs to create steam in order to loosen grime, so microwave the mixture for an extra minute or two if necessary. Carefully remove the bowl from your microwave so as not to burn yourself with the liquid or on the bowl (oven mitts recommended). Set the bowl aside for now, but don’t throw out the mixture just yet.
Step 3: Wipe, Wipe, Wipe
With your clean rag, start wiping the interior of your microwave. If necessary, dip your rag carefully into your hot vinegar mixture to attack those extra-stubborn spots that are still clinging on for dear life.
You’re all done! If your microwave’s gasket needs some TLC as well, scrub it gently with a water and baking soda mixture (best applied to a clean sponge), and then rinse it with a damp cloth.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Don't Forget These 7 Summer Home Maintenance Tips

With summer just around the corner, it’s a good idea to make sure your home is prepared to handle everything that comes with the season. The most important thing to remember is that in order to properly prepare your home, it’s going to need maintenance inside as well as outside.
Here are 7 maintenance tips you’ll want to make sure to tackle before summer really gets going.
1. Clean, repair, or replace your window screens.
Window screens allow you to let cool, morning temperatures and evening breezes into your home without letting in bugs and birds as well. However, a dusty, grimy screen can prevent airflow from occurring--or worse--can make your indoor air dirtier.
Make sure to take down your window screens to give them a gentle scrub with hot, soapy water. While doing this, look for tears or gaps through which insects might enter and repair as needed. In some cases, replacing an old, worn screen here and there might be the best option.
2. Dust your ceiling fans.
Ceiling fans tend to accumulate a lot of dust, particularly on top of the blades. Dust the body and blades of your ceiling fans thoroughly with a microfiber cloth.
3. Reverse your ceiling fans.
After dusting your fans, you’ll want to make sure that your ceiling fans are spinning in the right direction (counter-clockwise) to properly cool the rooms they’re in, as you may have reversed their direction for the opposite effect during winter.
4. Inspect your deck and balconies.
Check the floor, railings, and pillars of your deck and balconies for any safety hazards, namely signs of rotting or termite damage. That kind of damage should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent any accidents or injuries.
Also, check for any nail heads that may be jutting out of the wood, and hammer any protruding nails back into place. Lastly, check to see if your deck needs to be resealed by splashing a little water onto its boards. If the water soaks into the wood, rather than beading up, you’ll know that your deck should be resealed.
5. Inspect your sprinkler system.
Make sure that none of the sprinkler heads have become buried or knocked off center, and then slowly turn your system on so that you can look for leaks and water pressure issues. Afterward, adjust your sprinkler system’s watering schedule for longer, hotter days.
6. Add mulch to your garden.
Putting mulch in your flower beds allows them to better retain moisture and also helps suppress weeds.
7. Make sure your attic and crawlspace are treated for mold and harmful bacteria.
If your attic and crawlspace are already prone to excess moisture (which many are), the warmth of summer months can lead to extensive mold and bacteria growth, resulting in foul odors and poor indoor air quality. It’s a good idea to get the often-neglected areas professionally cleaned to prevent this issue.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

5 Ways to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Bathroom

Because of all the moisture it receives from showers and baths, your bathroom is one of the highest-risk areas for mold in your home. Not only is mold unsightly, but it’s also unhealthy and can worsen allergies and respiratory conditions. Fortunately, you can prevent mold growth in your bathroom fairly easily with these tips and tricks.
1. Equip Your Bathroom With a Bath Fan
The key to fighting mold growth in your bathroom in reducing any excess moisture. If your bathroom is not already equipped with a bath fan, it’s highly recommended that you get one installed. A bath fan reduces the moisture in the area around it by literally sucking moisture out of the air.
2. Use a Squeegee After Each Shower and Bath
It may seem tedious, but this an important step in removing excess moisture from your bathroom (approximately 75% of it, in fact). Leave yourself extra time after bathing or showering to squeegee all the sides of the shower and tub.
3. Make Sure Your Bathroom Fan Is the Right Size
In some instances, you may already have a fan, but it is not actually the right size to be effective. You can find out your current fan’s size by looking at its CFM (cubic feet per minute) count, usually printed directly onto the fan itself.
If your ceiling is 8 feet tall, your fan’s CFM should equal:
  • [the square footage of your room] x 1.1
If your ceiling is 9 feet tall, your fan’s CFM should equal:
  • [the square footage of your room] x 1.5
4. Use the Fan During and After Baths and Showers
Warm baths and showers release a lot of steam into the air, and that moisture can lead to mold. Running your fan during a bath or shower can reduce the amount of moisture on the walls and ceiling that could potentially contribute to mold growth. It’s equally important to run your fan after your baths and showers as well for at least 30 minutes.
5. Seal Your Grout
If you’re like most people, you have tile somewhere in your bathroom. The porous grout between the tiles is particularly susceptible to mold. That’s why another crucial step in mold prevention is making sure that you re-seal your grout on a yearly basis to ensure that it remains waterproof.
Has water damage taken a toll on your home or building? Make sure to schedule an indoor evaluation with our water damage experts as soon as possible: 631-940-8100.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Top-Rated Healthy Hand Soaps for Sensitive Skin

Even though hand soap is meant to wash away dirt, grease, and harmful substances, the ingredients in soap itself can have negative effects on sensitive or allergy-prone skin and overall human health. The average bottle of hand soap contains allergy-triggering artificial fragrances and dyes, as well as toxic ingredients such as triclosan, SLS, and parabens.
If you’re looking to switch out the hand soap in your home for soap with healthier and more eco-friendly ingredients, this list is the perfect place to get started.
Puracy Natural Liquid Hand Soap in Lavender & Vanilla
Puracy uses plant-based formulas to create a number of cleansers that are great for your skin and also better for the environment than traditional hand soap. This hand soap contains zero harsh chemicals. That means no triclosan, sulfates, or petrochemicals. It’s also vegan as well as gluten-free, which makes it a great option for those with a gluten sensitivity.
This hand soap was formulated by doctors and gets its fragrance from vanilla and lavender essential oils--no artificial fragrances here. It also contains aloe vera, sea salt, and Vitamin E, which serve to balance and hydrate skin naturally.
This soap also gets brownie points for being biodegradable, made in the USA, and certified cruelty-free (never tested on animals).
Buy on!
Seventh Generation Free & Clean Hand Soap, Unscented
This is another excellent plant-based liquid hand soap that can give you soft, clean skin without a single harsh chemical. It contains no dyes, fragrances, phthalates, or triclosan, making it a great option for anyone who wants or needs a completely unscented soap.
The ingredients that go into this product are both globally sourced and USA-based, but the product itself is manufactured in Tennessee, USA. The bottle is made with 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, and Seventh Generation sells large refill packs so that you can keep using the same bottle again and again--that’s an eco-friendly win!
EO Botanical Hand Soap in French Lavender
EO stands for “essential oils,” and that is exactly how this brand gives their soaps, gels, and lotions such a therapeutic smell. For their lavender soap, they source the lavender from French farms that have on-site distilleries. This allows the essential oils to be extracted from the freshly-picked lavender, yielding the most potent scent possible.
This soap contains zero sulfates, parabens, artificial dyes, or artificial fragrances, but what it does contain is a formula comprised of mild amino acid cleansers and a healing blend of chamomile, calendula, aloe vera, and white tea extracts.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pet-Safe Houseplants the Help Improve Indoor Air Quality

Houseplants have a way of tying a whole room together, and what’s more, they’re a wonderful, all-natural way to purify harmful toxins from your indoor air. However, many houseplant varieties that are so common in home magazines are toxic to pets, so it’s important to choose your houseplants carefully.
Here are 3 air-purifying houseplants that are non-toxic to cats and dogs.
Calathea is a stunning variety of air-purifying houseplant characterized by its vibrant, variegated foliage. It comes in many varieties that vary in leaf shape, from round and smooth (like the Calathea medallion) to long, pointed, and crinkly (like the Calathea lancifolia, AKA. Rattlesnake Plant).
One interesting characteristic of Calathea is how it “goes to sleep” every night by closing up its leaves and then opens back up again when the light returns with the morning.
Calathea’s Best Environment:
  • Calathea tends to do best in medium, indirect light and can also tolerate dappled sunlight. It will be harmed if placed under direct sunlight for long durations.
  • It will thrive in conditions offering normal to somewhat high humidity.
  • It will need to be watered on almost a weekly basis, once the top 2 inches of its soil have become dry.
Areca Palm
If you’re looking for an air-purifying houseplant with some height (and a houseplant that’s hard to kill), an Areca palm could be just the thing. They’re usually around 5 feet tall when sold at nurseries, and under the right conditions, they may grow up to about 8 feet tall.
The Areca palm is a variety of cane palm. One plant will actually have several stems that come up from the soil. This plant does tend to spread out horizontally over time, but this can be managed by trimming back to the new stems that show up around the perimeter.
Areca Palm’s Best Environment:
  • Give your Areca palm bright, indirect sunlight. Indirect sunlight from a south- or west-facing window will probably do the trick. Direct sunlight will make the plant turn yellow.
  • During summer and spring, the soil needs to stay slightly moist. During fall and winter, the soil can dry out between waterings.
  • Areca palms prefer higher humidity.
Chlorophytum Comosum (Spider Plant)
This is a great plant for beginners because of how forgiving it is. It’s also a great plant for those living in colder areas of the country because it won’t suffer when your house drops in temperature (whereas a lot of other houseplants suffer below 65 degrees Fahrenheit).
Spider plants come in different varieties, including those with straight foliage and curled foliage, and are well-known for being easy to propagate.
Spider Plant’s Best Environment:
  • Keep your spider plant in bright light, as long as it isn’t direct sunlight. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.
  • Spider plants do just fine in average humidity.
  • It’s best to let your spider plant dry out between waterings. This plant is very susceptible to “root rot” if the soil gets too soggy.

Friday, April 5, 2019

What You Never Wanted to Know About Mold

People often hear the term “mold,” and it usually brings to mind bad smells and dark, mysterious growth in the corners of bathrooms--but what exactly is mold? Where does it grow? What makes it harmful? These questions (and others) will be answered below.
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus. It’s made up of tiny organisms that come in a variety of colors, including green, white, black, purple, and orange. Mold spreads via mold spores, which are carried through the air both outdoors and indoors.
You might be surprised to find out that mold actually has a useful function in nature: to help plant material decompose.
What Causes Mold Growth?
You’re exposed to mold on a daily basis, usually in the form of spores, but don’t be alarmed just yet. The spores themselves--in small amounts--are generally harmless, but problems occur when the spores grow in concentration or when they attach to a surface and spread.
Mold spores require the following conditions in order to grow into mold:
  • Moisture (the #1 reason for mold growth in most homes)
  • A source of food (such as drywall)
  • Warmth
  • Oxygen
  • Darkness (ultraviolet light prevents mold growth)
If the conditions are right, once the mold spores attach to a surface, mold can start growing in as little as 24 to 48 hours.
Where Does Mold Grow?
Mold can grow in any room in your house, which is why it’s important to check every room. That being said, these are the most common rooms where mold is found:
  • Basements (due to poor ventilation, leaks, or flooding)
  • Bathrooms (due to leaks or the excess moisture from showering and bathing)
  • Attics (due to roof leaks or poor ventilation)
  • Crawl spaces (due to leaks, trapped water, or poor ventilation)
  • Kitchens (due to steam and other moisture from cooking and washing)
  • Laundry rooms (due to the warmth and moisture produced during laundering)
In rooms less prone to mold growth, it’s still recommended that you check for mold in the following places:
  • Air vents
  • Around the edges of windows
  • Houseplants
  • Curtains
  • Mattresses
What Makes Mold Harmful?
Some people are more sensitive to molds than others. For those with a mold sensitivity, being in a damp, moldy environment can cause symptoms similar to a cold or an allergic reaction:
  • Coughing or wheezing and throat irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Nasal congestion
  • Skin irritation
People with mold allergies or chronic lung illnesses or immune-compromised people can potentially get serious infections as a result of mold exposure.
It should also be noted that mold exposure may increase a child’s risk of developing asthma. Recent studies have indicated that there may be a link between early mold exposure and the development of asthma in certain children, especially those who could be genetically susceptible to developing asthma.
To reduce the risk of mold growth in your home, contact GreenPro Cleaning & Restoration for air duct, attic, and crawl space cleaning and help with water damage.