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.