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Avoid Salmonella This Holiday

With Thanksgiving just two days away, I’m sure many of us can already smell the turkey and taste the stuffing and potatoes. While I’m sure everyone is prepared to make a delicious feast and has all of their spices and garnishes ready, there is one thing that you shouldn’t overlook this holiday…….salmonella. Needless to say, a case of salmonella poisoning can destroy an otherwise perfect Thanksgiving. Luckily, our friends at The Clean Team, have some tips on how to avoid a salmonella outbreak this holiday. So, read up, and have a safe and happy holiday. Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Don’t Serve Up Salmonella This Holiday Season 

You may feel confident when cooking up that bird and seasoning those veggies, but do you know how to avoid serving up deadly dose of kitchen bacteria like salmonella? According to the Center For Disease Control, over 40,000 people each year get salmonella poisoning. However, with these simple steps, salmonella can be avoided.

  1. When you set raw meat on counter tops, you create a harbinger of bacteria. Wipe up meat juices with a paper towel, spray the counter with an anti-bacterial cleaner (mix  your own solution of 1 part bleach, 10 parts water for example), and wipe clean with another paper towel. Don’t use a dish cloth for this job; it’s not worth risking someone washing the dishes or the table with this contaminated cloth.
  2. Use two cutting boards when cutting up meat and veggies – one for the meat, a different one for the veggies – washing cutting boards carefully with hot soapy water between uses. Never cut raw vegetables on the meat cutting board.
  3. Avoid cleaning up raw meat juices with a sponge since germs get trapped in the sponge, creating a breeding ground for bacteria. And if you do get raw meat juices in your sponge, rinse in hot soapy water, then microwave the sponge for one minute. Be careful when removing; let it cool to the touch first.
  4. After handling raw meat, be sure and wash your hands vigorously with warm soapy water for at least one minute. And be careful to clean up under those long acrylic fingernails, as they can be completely missed during hand washing.
  5. Wash all utensils that touch raw meat, like platters or plates, with hot soapy water before placing the cooked meat back on.
  6. Store raw meat on the lower shelf of the fridge, and raw vegetables on the higher shelves, to protect against mean drips or spills contaminating those raw veggies.

Serve up a safe, healthy meal during the holidays with just a little attention to proper clean up and food handling.

Be Cautious When Cleaning Around Children

Everyone wants to have a nice clean home for themselves and their loved ones. Unfortunately, if you happen to have children, some of the products you may use to clean your home can be harmful to them. Our friends at Housekeeping, have come up with a list of 10 chemicals to be cautious of when cleaning around children. So, give this article a read and try to stay clear of products which contain these chemicals.

10 Chemicals to Be Cautious of When Cleaning Around Kids

Keeping your house spotless, shining and most of all, clean, with kids around can be a challenge. Somehow, a small handprint appears before you are even finished cleaning the windows. Even with gallant efforts to keep your abode sparkling, know that there can be dangers lurking if you are using products and chemicals that are harmful to your children.

Know which chemicals to avoid when cleaning areas in your home that little hands and mouths tread frequently.


1. Triclosan


The past 10 years or so have seen an explosion in the prevalence of household anti-microbial products, previously used only in clinical and industrial settings, according to Joe Walsh, founder of Green Clean Maine in Portland. As the most common consumer anti-bacterial agent, triclosan containing benzalkonium cloride may be leading to strains of bacteria that are resistant both to disinfectants and prescription antibiotics.


“Before you reach for the bottle of anti-bacterial hand soap or kitchen counter cleaner, consider plain old soap and water as an alternative,” says Walsh. “It’s often cheaper and is all you need to get the job done.”


2. Benzalkonium Chloride


Also found in many anti-bacterial products, benzalkonium chloride offers many of the same risks as triclosan. Although antibacterial products promote clean health, a growing chorus of researchers and medical professionals are raising concerns about the health effects of the widespread use of anti-microbial agents in the home, says Walsh.


“The idea is that highly disinfected household environments prevent children from developing strong immune systems early in life,” says Walsh. “Without the challenge of bacteria exposure, the immune system gets lazy and underdeveloped.”


3. Alkylphenol Ethoxylates


Chemicals that end in “-phenolethoxylate” are commonly used in surfactants, such as those found in all-purpose cleaners. “They are estrogen mimickers, which makes them particularly harmful to women and especially children,” says Walsh. “They do not break down in the environment, but persist and bioacumulate, meaning they build up in human tissue over time.”


The most reliable way to find out if your household cleaning products have this family of chemicals is to look the product up in the U.S. Department Health and Human Services’ National Household Products Database.


4. Chlorine Bleach


Danger is lurking when a child is exposed to chlorine bleach. Keeping bleach around increases the risk of a child ingesting it, spilling it or touching a surface that has been cleaned with bleach. In addition to being highly toxic on its own, chlorine bleach also forms carcinogenic compounds, including chloroform, when it mixes with organic materials in the general environment, says Walsh.


Luckily, there are great alternatives to bleach that can whiten without the dangerous side-effects. Walsh suggests non-chlorine bleach, such as hydrogen peroxide, or oxygen bleaches and sodium percaronate. “The use of the detergent booster, washing soda, will also help to keep clothes bright and white without bleach,” says Walsh.


5. Ammonia


Although ammonia may make your glass surfaces shine, the harmful chemical is not advised as kid-friendly. “Ammonia can be toxic to the skin, eyes and lungs and like bleach, it’s far too easy to mix it with other things unknowingly,” says Walsh. Many household cleaners contain ammonia, but as a rule, it is in the traditional glass bottle cleaners, as well as metal and oven cleaners.


6. VOCs


This type of chemical includes ethylene glycol, propylene glycol, butyl cellusolve and anything under the heading of petroleum distillates. According to Walsh, the acute effects of exposure are eye, skin and mucus membrane irritation. The long-term risks include nervous system damage and liver, blood, lung and kidney damage.


“Daily VOC exposure in children has been directly linked to asthma, and in mothers has been directly linked to diarrhea, earaches and even depression,” says Walsh. To avoid VOCs, look for products that contain a warning label that the product is “combustible” or “flammable.” Many products with VOCs also offer precautionary statements that the product can cause respiratory irritation or recommend using in a well-ventilated area.


7. Perchlorethylene


While trying to keep your carpets clean, avoid products with perchlorethylene, a common agent in carpet and upholstery shampoos. This carcinogen against animals is claimed to be harmful for the liver, kidneys and nervous system, according to Kris Koenig, CEO of Natura Clean, a residential and commercial cleaning company in Middleton, Wisconsin.


According to Koenig, the effects of exposure to perchlorethylene can include dizziness, fatigue, headaches and irritation to skin, eyes, nose and throat.


8. Nitrobenzene


Your children are frequent loungers on the couch, chairs and furniture within the home. Ensure they are not at risk while watching their favorite TV show by avoiding use of nitrobenzene, a common chemical found in furniture and floor polishes. “Small amounts can cause minor skin irritation,” says Koenig, “but regular exposure to high concentrations can reduce the blood’s ability to carry oxygen.”


9. Formaldehyde


Mold and mildew poses risk for your family as it is, but disinfectants with formaldehyde are just as harmful, says Koenig. Formaldehyde is used as a disinfectant in mold and mildew removers and some dishwashing liquid. Check your labels to ensure that you are not posing more risk when cleaning.


Exposure to high doses of this chemical can affect the mucous membranes, with some people developing sensitivity and triggers to asthma attacks, says Koenig.


10. Phosphates


Even though you may think you are providing a sanitary and clean environment for your children when tossing dirty laundry into the washer, there may be harmful chemicals that will pose a risk for the family’s health. Phosphates, commonly found in laundry and dishwashing detergents, are also fertilizers, which means that they can cause rapid algae growth after washed away into rivers and lakes, says Koenig. Ensure you are keeping your household healthy and the environment safe by straying from products with these chemicals.




If you’re concerned that all of your household cleaning products pose risks to your children, there are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives to keep your home sparkling clean. According to Leslie Reichert, cleaning expert and author of “The Joy of Green Cleaning,” you should only use items you could eat when cleaning around children.

“You can do a fabulous job cleaning with things like white vinegar, baking soda, salt and lemon juice,” she says. “If you feel like you have to disinfect things, you can use hydrogen peroxide (which is safe enough to use as a mouth wash) or conquer stains on sinks and counters with toothpaste. We really don’t need to use any toxic chemicals around our children.”

Avoid Chemicals and Save Money with These Household Products

The next time you are at the grocery store and you turn down the isle for cleaning supplies, stop, and look in your shopping cart before you load up on any traditional cleaners, you may already have what you need in your cart. Things like, lemons, vinegar, baking soda, and Castile soap can be used to do a number of household jobs. In fact, this article from Mind Body Green, shows 72 (yes 72!) different uses for common household products. So, rid your home of the chemicals found in traditional cleaners and save some bucks on beauty and dietary products as well, by trying out some of these alternative uses of these common household products.

72 Uses For Simple Household Products To Save Money & Avoid Toxins
Limiting the amount of products you bring into your home will not only cut down on costs at the grocery store but will keep you and your family healthier. Below is a list of some common uses for seven household products. Add some drops of essentials oils like lavender, rose, or sweet orange to any of them for extra pleasure!

Here are a few more tips to help you go green and save money!

  • Cut up old bath towels. Reuse these as rags for cleaning your house rather than paper towels, which are expensive and contribute to 3,000 pounds of waste in landfills each day.
  • When you grocery shop, leave your list at home. Instead, fill your basket with local, seasonal, and organic items that are on sale that week. Once you have your fruits and veggies, you can start to plan what other items you might need for the week.
  • Stock up on staples when they are on sale. Some ideas: look for jars of organic pasta sauce, condiments, and, frozen organic veggies or fruit.
  • Purchase things in bulk like quinoa, granola, beans, nuts, seeds, and dried herbs.
  • Cook up large pots of grains and beans then divvy them up smaller portions to freeze for later meals.. Staples that work well: quinoa, brown rice, black beans, and kidney beans.
  • Prep veggies on Sundays. You can wash, chop, blanch or steam them.
  • Invest in a high quality blender. This will allow you to make your own nut butters, almond milk, oat flour, soups, dips, and smoothies.  Choose one with at least a 5 year warranty.
  • Limit the amount of beauty products you use daily.Keep your routine simple!

Tips for Cleaning After the Kids Are Sick

It’s that time of year when everybody seems to be getting sick, especially the kids. The best way to keep the germs from spreading around your home is to clean. Here is a great post from the good people at Backupcare, in which they give you 70 tips on how to clean your home after your kids have gotten sick.

70 Tips for Cleaning Your House after the Kids are Sick

Despite your best efforts to prevent it, your kids will end up sick at some point or another.housecleaning As unfortunate as this is, it happens to everyone. The key to quickly coming out of this debacle on the other side is keeping the germs from spreading to the rest of the family. Disinfecting the house is one of the best ways to prevent anyone else from contracting the illness, and these 70 blogs are full of tips to clean your house in the event that someone comes down with a sickness that’s easily spread.

How to Sanitize Your Home after Illness

Where do you even start when it comes to cleaning the house after an illness? If you can, open up some windows to get fresh air into your home. This air will not only clear out any strange smells that are lingering, it will also help replenish the stale air with fresh air. Grab some rubber gloves, gather up all of the trash and dump it. Disinfect your trash cans, because they can hold germs for hours and even days depending on the germ. For other tips on cleaning your home after your kids have been sick, read these 10 blogs.

Cleaning Those Forgotten Areas

It’s easy to overlook cleaning some areas of your home; however, those surfaces can hold tons of germs. For instance, the drawers in your refrigerator can hold germs that can make your entire family ill. To avoid this, line them with paper towels. These 10 blogs share tips on how to clean forgotten areas of the home.

How a Decluttered Home Helps after Illness

While you probably try to stay ahead of clutter in your home it can be a never ending battle. If you create routines for yourself to prevent clutter, though, you can keep it under control. In times of illness you may have a friend or loved one come in to help you, but if your home is filled with clutter they won’t know what to do with it all and may end up stacking it or skipping over those surfaces all together. If you don’t have anyone to come help you and you are trying to make sure the house is picked up, you will find that it doesn’t take long at all to clean the house when there’s no clutter. Take a look at these 10 blogs to learn more about decluttering and how it can save you time and energy.

Cleaning the Kitchen to Avoid Foodborne Illness

Foodborne illnesses can make your family really sick. These types of illnesses are typically contracted because of cross contamination in the kitchen or a problem with food preparation. There are ways to prevent foodborne illnesses at home, though. Two easy tricks: keep surfaces clean and be careful to not to use the same knife with raw meat that you do with cooked. These blogs will explain how foodborne illnesses can happen and what you can do to prevent them.

Cleaning Up After Your Child Has Thrown Up

Unfortunately, cleaning up after your child has vomited is part of the parenting gig. It’s not fun, but if you use the tips found in these 10 blogs you will be able to make it bearable. One thing to remember is that you need to clean up the carpet immediately because it may stain the carpet if left to dry. The carpet is not the only place that kids throw up, though, and you’ll find tips for cleaning up any and all spaces in these 10 blogs.

Green Cleaning Products that Work

If you prefer to avoid harsh chemicals when you are cleaning your home there are several alternatives that will work just as well as for killing germs. Vinegar and tea tree are natural solutions that will disinfect surfaces, for example. Take a look at these tips and see if these green cleaning ideas appeal to you.

How to Clean to Prevent Illness

Every time you clean, whether it’s after someone has been sick or not, you are cleaning to prevent illness. However, there’s more to cleaning than just hitting the big areas in the home. These 10 blogs give specific tips on cleaning areas that you might not think about to prevent your family from getting sick.

Tips for Removing Stains from Your Sofa

If you have children, pets, or just happen to be a bit clumsy sometimes (like myself), chances are your sofa has had it’s share of stains. Everything from some spilled beverages while watching a game, dirt dragged in from the playground, or even pee from a pet or small child who had an accident, can cause your sofa to be stained or even ruined if it isn’t properly cleaned. Removing a stain can sometimes seem like an impossibility. When, in fact, it may be easier to do if you use the right cleaning method for the material. In this article from Modern Sensibility, are several different methods for efficiently removing a number of different stains from different style of sofas. So, the next time you get a stain, instead of flipping the cushion over to hide it, try out one of these natural solutions!


So, You’ve just spilled (insert here) on your sofa! With panic you get a wet cloth and start dabbing, blotting, rubbing your sofa and the stain is not going away! Even worse it looks like it’s getting bigger! What do you do now? Throw it away, cover it up and pretend it never happened? Live with the unbearable stain? Or you can learn how to remove that stain, naturally and effectively using these tips.
-Create a natural mixture using three tablespoons baking powder and one tablespoon club soda.
-Grab a towel/cloth and rub the mixture over the stain you should see the stain starting to come off. 
-let it sit for a little while (a minute or two)
– Then wet a cloth, drain the excess and wipe down the sofa
On a microfiber sofa which is said to be the easiest sofa to remove stains from.
-Grab some baby wipes and wipe the stained area until the stain start to loosen.
On a suede sofa using some denatured alcohol and letting it sit would be a good option. 
Tip: Just remember every sofa respond differently, so test a hidden area first before you do the whole sofa to prevent discoloration. 
-Yes, there is a difference between microfiber and micro-suede and they respond differently to treatment
– A cotton sofa can easily be cleaned by throwing them into the washing machine. That’s the plus side to this material. I would suggest not putting it in the dryer, but again every material is different use your discretion.
– If you don’t want to machine was you can also use dish washing or detergent and water. Make sure the water is not very soapy and wipe down your sofa to remove the stain. After you have done this grab a fresh cloth with warm water and re-wipe the area.
Oops, your furry friend just went pee all over your sofa. What now? Leave it to dry and pretend to company….and yourself that you’re not laying or sitting in pee? No, thank goodness, just a little vinegar and water gets this stain and smell out of your sofa. You can also sprinkle some baking soda on the spot to take care of the smell as well. Just be use to clean it up after.
Doing homework on your sofa, balancing the books, whatever it is… and the ink from your pen leaks onto your sofa. You think your sofa is ruined forever. We all think “Ink does not come out!” How do you get ink out?! Before you throw out your sofa, resent it, etc. use this natural stain remover tip.
TIP: Remember, never rub in an ink stain, it will only make it worse! Always blot.
-Step 1: Spray hairspray onto a towel and then blot the stain, redo this with a dry towel
-Step 2: Next, using a clean towel add isopropyl rubbing alcohol. BLOT the ink stain and then dry with a towel
-Step3: Then use a clean towel and apply nail polish remover to the stain(please test sofa area first)
Tips :
-Remove dirt/dust with a lint roller
-You can buy ink stain remover such as Carbona/Afta to clean the stain
– Vacuum furniture is also a good option to removing dust/dirt
-Scotch guarding your sofa is also another good option. This allows for easier cleaning

Tips for Heating Your Home

It’s hard to believe it’s already the first week of November. In just a few weeks the beginning of the holiday season will be here, and so will the cold. Keeping your home nice and warm during the winter months is important, not only for comfort sake, but also to help keep everyone from getting sick. Unfortunately, many of the ways people heat their home can be expensive and even harmful to the environment. This article from Do The Green Thing, gives you tips on how to cut back on energy cost and waste, when it comes to heating your home.

Heating your home the green way green heating word cloud

Keeping warm in winter can be costly for you and for the environment. But there is plenty you can do to minimise the cost of both. Here are five top tips for people who want to maximise domestic warming whilst minimising global warming.
1. Switch to a ‘green’ energy tariff or supplier
Specialist suppliers that source much or all of their electricity from renewable sources are becoming both more common and more competitive, as are ‘green’ tariffs from mainstream suppliers. Even if you’re on a tight budget, it’s well worth investigating whether a green plan might be right for you: they can sometimes work out cheaper than the alternatives.

2. Insulate
Whether it’s double-glazing, cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or just the humble draft excluder, are you doing everything you reasonably can to make sure the heat you generate stays inside your home? Insulation will save you money in the medium to long term as well as upping your green credentials, and many people are eligible for grants to help towards or even cover the up-front costs.


3. Green space heaters
If you use electric space heater (one that heats just one room rather than central heating), investing in a new one can often be another way of saving money and energy. The most recent models take advantage of new technology that allows them to provide the maximum amount of heat using the minimum amount of electricity. Some features to look out for include a thermostat, which will allow you to keep your room at a constant temperature and not waste money by over-heating it and a timer to give you more control over when the heater goes on and off.

4. Green central heating
If you use central heating, then getting a ‘power flush’ to clean out your system may be a good way of making it more efficient. Turning down the thermostat a few degrees and pulling on a jumper is the quickest way to save money and energy. Only use central heating when you need it. There’s an urban myth that claims it’s more efficient to keep it on all day and night, but this is not true. Make sure the heating’s off if there’s no-one in, and rely on thicker duvets and pyjamas to keep warm at night. More drastically, if your radiators are old, then getting them replaced with newer, more efficient models can be a cost-effective option in the longer term.


5. Heat pumps and other ‘alternative’ heating systems
If you’re really serious about making a difference, then there are a number of exciting new technologies that can help you heat your home in an environmentally friendly way. Heat pumps take warmth from the air, ground or water, and use it to heat your home. They are designed to work even in low temperatures and are already really popular in Scandinavia. For example, in Sweden, they are used in 97% of new builds. Under-floor heating is another alternative for people with the budget for more substantial work. It heats the house more evenly than conventional central heating, and is great for keeping your feet nice and toasty.

Tips On Making Homemade Autumn Scents

BLOG-AUTUMNAutumn just happens to be my favorite time of year. Everything about it, from the much needed drop in temperature after a long hot summer, to the changing of the leaves and the start of the holiday season. Of all of the things I love about this time of year, the thing I love most is the smell. The scents of Autumn remind of being a kid, playing football with my friends, drinking apple cider, and my mom’s baking. For some tips on how to fill your home with the smell of the season, check out this article from eHow, on how to create your own homemade Autumn scents.

Homemade Autumn Spice Fragrances

As the leaves change color and the temperature begins to drop, the arrival of autumn is signaled by the fragrances of the season. The warm, rich fragrances of autumn remind us of our mom’s cooking or playing in the giant leaf pile as a kid. Capture these scents with homemade autumn spices using items from around your house. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on scented candles, oils and potpourri, when you can make your own for a couple of dollars.


  • Make autumn spiced potpourri to place around your home. Cut thin slices of apple and place in a single layer and bake at 150 degrees for 30 minutes to dry. Combine carnations in shades of pink and red, dried sweet woodruff leaves, grated nutmeg, julienned orange peel, whole cloves, a few cinnamon sticks and a few drops of cinnamon or vanilla scented oil. Determine the amount of ingredients to use based on the total amount of potpourri you want to make. Experiment with the mixture and store extra in a tightly sealed jar for use at a later time.

Scented Pine Cones

  • Prepare scented pine cones to place around your home. Gather 10-15 pine cones in various sizes. Arrange the pine cones in a single layer in a plastic grocery bag. Purchase or make your own pickling spice. Combine ¼-cup pickling spice, cinnamon powder and whole cloves. Mix well. Consider mixing with oils such as orange, balsam or cinnamon for extra fragrance. Use spray adhesive to coat the pine cones, but avoid breathing in the fumes. Spread the spice mixture over the pine cones, close the bag and gently shake to cover all the sides of the pine cones. Place the pine cones on newspaper to dry. Shake when dry to remove the extra spices which do not stick.

Baked Goods

  • Add autumn spice fragrances to your home with homemade goodies. Home baked goods can fill a house with the scent of fall and provide your family with some tasty treats. Simmer spiced tea or apple cider with cinnamon sticks on the stove for a warm treat on crisp autumn days. Keep the temperature on low and the house smells wonderful all day. Make a batch of apple butter in the crock-pot. Chop apples and add a few spices, allowing the mixture to simmer for the day. Other homemade treats to consider include gingerbread cookies, apple pie or pumpkin bread.