4 ideas to add value to your home | AZ Big Media

Hardwood Flooring

If you are not sure about how to add value to your home, then don’t worry, we have got you covered. 2019 was all about home renovation, and remodeling and every homeowner have been looking for amazing ideas to take inspiration from. However, you need to put into consideration the fact that not every home improvement project adds value to the home. Below in this article, we’ve mentioned our top four. To learn about them, read this article till the end!

1. Update Your Kitchen

The kitchen is the center of every house, which is why you need to make it the best part of your home. Homeowners always find good reasons to remodel their kitchen area. Often, they undertake the whole remodeling project when they are selling their property. This is because an updated kitchen will appeal more to buyers than the boring one. But another one of the reasons that  can be behind kitchen renovation is energy savings. Many homeowners have started to add appliances and lights that save them money. For example, energy-efficient appliances and water heating units cut the electricity bill and don’t hurt the environment as well. Whatever the reason is, if you remodel, renovate, or update your kitchen, the idea will instantly add value to your house.

2. Remove Your Carpeting and Get Hardwood Flooring

Modern homebuyers don’t like the idea of putting carpets on floors, except for where they are required. Carpeting is so outdated, and if you really want to do something different and amazing, the look for flooring options. For example, you can choose hardwood flooring, which is a perfect alternative to floor carpeting. Hardwood flooring gives you the warmth and elegance you want in your home. Plus, this material makes the place appear luxurious and sophisticated, which definitely adds value to the home. If you think that this will be extremely expensive, then keep in mind it will probably last for years and years. You can choose from a wide range of colors and textures that you feel goes well with your whole place. If you are considering this option, then the Peek’s Flooring Co. offers quality and options at affordable rates.

3. Add another Bathroom

If you have only one bathroom in your home, then it is about time to get another one because one is definitely not enough. Though you have to invest a significant amount of money, it will be worth every penny you spent. When it comes to adding another bathroom, you can choose any extra room or underutilized spaces. For a full bath with a stand-up shower in, it will require over 30 square feet area. If you want to add a bathtub in your bathroom, then at least have a 35 square feet of area to work with. For a half-bath, 18 square feet would be enough, and for this, you can choose any empty closet or areas under the stairs. No matter what size your bathroom is going to be, be sure to check out some of the latest trends in bathroom design and remodeling.

4. Replace your Dated Garage Door

If you have old and outdated garage doors, then consider adding a new one if you are taking out your home improvement project. Fortunately, replacing a dated garage door is not a pricey investment at all, and doing so will make your house look much appealing and attractive than it was before. Therefore, if you have decided to get your garage door replaced, then be sure to get your hands on one that is appealing, provides safety, security, and properly insulated so that you can save on bills as well.

This content was originally published here.

The Advantages Of Choosing Solid Hardwood Flooring | Life of Creed

Hardwood Flooring

Benefits of Hardwood Flooring

Easy To Clean And Maintain

One of the key reasons to opt for these kinds of flooring is that it is very easy to maintain and is long-lasting. You can easily clean this flooring by sweeping or vacuuming. Moreover, such floors do not need to be cleaned very often. The floors will not harbor environmental hazards such as dust mites or pet dander. 

Wooden floors are more stain-resistant than tile floors or carpets. Spilling drinks or food will only need to be wiped up. So, it makes it much easier to maintain. 

Durability Matters

Flooring involves a huge sum of money so you would not want to end up having one which is not durable, here hardwood floorings come as a great solution These floorings are known for its ability to survive high traffic and retain its texture. The floor can last for decades if you take proper care of it.

A Classy Look For Your Home

Such floors add a touch of sophistication and warmth to your home. Some homeowners also feel like hardwood flooring makes space look bigger. The warmth factor of your home also depends on your décor but choosing wooden floors is a great way to make a solid impression.

More Lucrative During The Sale Of A House

If you are planning to sell your house or even give it on rent, then the smallest of things matter a lot, flooring is one of them. Having a good hardwood flooring installed at your place spruce-ups its look and thus, you can get good resale value of the property. Homebuyers are willing to pay a higher price for a house with wooden floors compared to one with tile or carpet. Most homebuyers do not prefer someone else’s carpet. They consider a used carpet similar to a petri dish which might aggravate their allergy symptoms. 

Since most home buyers plan on purchasing new carpets, they will pay more for a house with hardwood floors. It may also help sell your house faster since it is a sought-out feature.

A Cleaner Home Environment

Unlike carpets, hardwood flooring does not trap dirt, mites, pollen, dust or pet dander. So, the air quality of your home improves. Wooden floors are the preferred choice of people suffering from allergies. 

Wooden floors are a better alternative to laminate or tiles for indoor air quality. It is so because tiles and laminate have grout lines and embossing even though they may not have fibers like carpets. The grout lines and embossing are the perfect places for dust, pollen, and other allergens to settle. Also, these floorings are easy to clean, so you can keep the dust particles and grime at bay.

Blends With Any Decor

One of the best things about hardwood floorings is that it can easily blend with the interiors of the hose, if you have contemporary interiors or the vintage-styled, these floorings will easily blend with it and will amp up the look of the place. You can change furniture, mirrors, wall art, showpieces or other decors, but the hardwood floor will still go with your home décor. 

Conclusion– Real hardwood flooring comes in various shades, swirls, and grains that add character to your home décor. They last long and keep your cleaning and repair costs to a bare minimum. So, the long-lasting quality and low maintenance make hardwood flooring an affordable option, keeping the long term in mind.

So, think no further, and choose hardwood flooring and hire the best flooring company to get it installed at your place. 

This content was originally published here.

Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring

Hardwood Flooring

The flooring of a home is one of its defining features. Wood flooring remains one of the most popular options, as it is a naturally inviting, beautiful and timeless material. While older, more traditional homes often have the original hardwood floors still in place, many newer homes are using laminate. It offers a natural look similar to wood but at a lower price.

When deciding between hardwood vs. laminate flooring, there are several pros and cons to consider. Sure, when comparing laminate vs hardwood cost, laminate is usually the more affordable option. But you also must look at durability, resale value, cleaning, installation and more. This article will compare some of the factors between hardwood vs laminate flooring and help you decide which is best for your home.

DIY Laminate Flooring

Image: Elnur/Shutterstock

Laminate vs. hardwood cost

The reality of flooring costs and what you can afford may be miles apart. Take into consideration the cost of laminate and hardwood flooring to determine what is best for you.

  • Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood flooring is made of harvested trees; pricing depends on the type of wood you choose. In general, hardwood is considerably higher to buy and to install.
  • Laminate: PROS – Laminate wood flooring is made from composite wood pressed together at high temperatures. The image of hardwood is then placed over the composite wood, covering it to form the laminate. Not only are the materials themselves cheaper, but laminate wood installation cost is, on average, 50 percent less than hardwood installation.

Laminate flooring can cost $3-$7 per square foot, including installation. Solid wood flooring can cost $5-$10 per square foot, including installation. Again, the exact prices will vary depending on the types of materials used and the size of your home.

Laminate vs. hardwood durability

Assess the traffic load and wear and tear on flooring in your home. A more durable surface is easier to maintain and will look great for years to come.

  • Hardwood: CONS – Hardwood is susceptible to scratching, can get damaged from excessive moisture and will show wear, especially in heavily trafficked areas. PROS – Hardwood is the real deal; it is gorgeous and, depending on the type of wood, can add considerable value to your home.
  • Laminate: PROS – Since laminate is made from pressed wood, it is more durable and resists scratches, moisture and wear and tear. Laminate flooring is also easier to clean. CONS – Even though laminate is more durable, it is not as visually appealing. Lower qualities of laminate may have artificial-looking wood grain textures.
flooring

Image: Breadmaker/Shutterstock

Laminate vs. hardwood repair

Your home’s flooring will typically need repairs at some point. From minor accidents to excessive wear and tear, laminate and hardwood have advantages and disadvantages.

  • Hardwood: PROS – Hardwood can be repaired by sanding imperfections and refinishing. This gives it the edge over laminate, in that it will last for years.
  • Laminate: CONS – Laminate flooring doesn’t repair easily. If you buy flooring that comes in individual pieces and snaps together, you may be able to replace individual boards — although, depending on sunlight and age, the new piece may not match properly.

Best places for hardwood vs. laminate flooring
In addition to price, durability and repair, you should also consider the best (and worst) places in the home for both types of flooring.

  • Hardwood: Hardwood flooring is both beautiful and fairly durable, especially in lower-traffic rooms like bedrooms and dining rooms. But, if you have pets or a lot of foot traffic, your hardwood floors might show the scratches and wear overtime. Basements and bathrooms with a lot of moisture are also not good places for hardwood flooring. On the other hand, continuous sunlight can fade your hardwood flooring overtime as well.
  • Laminate: Because laminate flooring is so durable, it’s less susceptible to wear and tear from pets and foot traffic. While it withstands moisture better than hardwood, it should not be in a regularly wet area of the home. Because of its top coat, laminate flooring typically does not fade from sunlight as quickly and noticeably as hardwood flooring and can be used safely in rooms with large windows.

Your home will benefit from the look of wood flooring; deciding between hardwood vs. laminate flooring is up to you. Review the pros and cons, and be realistic about your lifestyle; if you have pets, young kids or high traffic, that may influence your decision.

If you have a lot of sunlight in your home, hardwood can fade because it is a natural product, while laminate wood flooring has UV protection integrated into the surface. Consider all the factors — and enjoy how the warmth of wood will improve your home’s aesthetic appeal and value.

The post Hardwood vs. Laminate Wood Flooring appeared first on Freshome.com.

This content was originally published here.

Lofts at Cherokee Studios | James Colin Campbell

Hardwood Flooring

751 N Fairfax Ave | Lofts at Cherokee Studios


Lofts at Cherokee Studios
751 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles CA 90046

Are these stairs conjured up from MC Escher?

751 N Fairfax Ave is a mixed-use 12 condos + 1 Retail space development in Hollywood. Built-in 2010 by REthink development who is a firm that specializes in LEED development the project incorporates green design and creative live/work loft space. There are a number of green building techniques utilized in the construction- there is a 30KW Rooftop solar panel (this project has an amazing rooftop deck) and drought-tolerant landscaping.

The architect for this project was Pugh + Scarpa. One thing you will notice right away is the building’s perforated anodized aluminum panels that screen condos from public view.

These panels are adjustable and can be opened and closed. The different configurations of open and closed panels create an ever-evolving facade.  The Architect was inspired for this design by British artist Patrick Hughes, whose mind-bending prospective paintings challenge the viewer’s perception of reality.  

Can you see Patrick Hughes influence?

The building has an art mural that features famous recording artists that recorded at this sites former location- Cherokee Recording Studios. You can See Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix and ole Blue Eyes! 

David Bowie infront of Cherokee Lofts in 1975 when it was Cherokee Records

This site is music history holy ground. Former site of MGM Studios and then Cherokee Recording studios. There are 300 Gold and Platinum recordings here from Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Barbara Streisand, Aerosmith, Dave Matthews, Michael Jackson, Elvis, Lenny Kravits, Paul McCartney, and a whole lot more. 

Cherokee Lofts are blended into a vibrant urban market. Fairfax district has had a rapidly growing restaurant and shopping scene. The Melrose flea market is every Sunday in the parking lot of Fairfax Highschool. You can do many of your daily tasks on foot. 

Real Estate

Most floorplans are townhouse style,  only #4,#5 are a single story (with 10 Foot ceilings). 

#6 and #8 are big units 3 bedrooms 2000 sqft, #2 is small 1 bedroom 950 sqft, the rest are 2 bedrooms 2 baths ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 sqft. Prices are $1m-$1.1m

 These condos have very high 17-foot ceilings. Informal entry into a combined open kitchen with living room and dining room. There are lots of windows.  Hardwood flooring throughout the living areas. Bathrooms are sleek and modern. Really cool screened in balconies. Kitchens are stocked with Bertazzoni range and Bosch refrigerator & dishwasher. Features in-unit washer and dryer, and 2 tandem parking with an EV charging station. Master bedrooms have a separate tub and shower double vanity and walk-in closet.  tankless water heater. 

Each condo has in unit laundry. A stacked washer and dryer in a closet. 

Each condo gets 2 car tandem parking in an underground level gated parking. Guest Parking?

Home Owners Association

HOA dues Monthly Cost? $500-$800/mo.

HOA dues cover?

Owner Pays?

Special move in instructions?

Can you have BBQ on the balcony?

Property Management company?

This content was originally published here.

Acclimating Raw Hardwood Flooring Before Installation

Hardwood Flooring

Solid Nail Down Hardwood Flooring Requires Acclimation, Engineered Wood Does Not

Dallas Flooring WarehouseInstallation of solid hardwood flooring with a custom finish in place is truly a contruction project.  Unlinke engineered hardwood floors , raw finish in place nail down hardwood flooring requires what is called “acclimation” of the wood before the installation process begins.

It is important that the moisture content of the hardwood flooring match the moisture content of the subfloor. Ideally it should be a difference of 4% or less between the subfloor and the wood. Acclimation allows the wood to spend time in the install environment for a period of time prior to the installation so that it will be better balanced with the subfloor.

For hardwood flooring humidity in the hom should be regulated between 30% and 50% and the temperature should be kept between 60 and 80 degrees.

“Homeowners can regulate the humity of their home using their HVAC system.  Optionally a humidity control system can be added to your heating and cooling system to keep your indoor humidy at optimul levels.  We commonly install humidity controls in our Texas customers’ homes.”, says Michelle Solis from Superior AC & Heat, Crowley, TX HVAC professionals since 1980.

Solid Hardwood Finished in Place is a Construction Project

While engineered hardwoods can be installed in a single day, this is not possible with solid nail down custom hardwood.  The acclimation process can take weeks and the installation process is time consuming also.  First the floor is prepared, moisture is tested, plastic is installed, the subfloor is installed and then the wood is nailed down onto the subfloor.  It is the sanded and stained.  Finally multiple coats of poly are applied.  Each coat must dry before the next is applied, so this takes days also.  A hand scraped hardwood finish will also add time for the techncians to manually scrape the floors.  Solid hardwood is certainly among the most desired and long lasting flooring materials available and it has so many advantages, but be prepared for the installation process to make it the best experience for your family.

See more hardwood flooring at Dallas Flooring Warehouse

The post Acclimating Raw Hardwood Flooring Before Installation appeared first on Dallas Flooring Warehouse.

This content was originally published here.

Before embarking on any large home improvement project, calculate what the payoff is — now and in the future

Hardwood Flooring

HomeRemodel-GDT-102619-3

The mind of a homebuyer is an elusive thing. Which is why it’s so
difficult to figure out what home renovations might convince them to sign a
contract, and how much those renovations can impact your selling price. Here is
the projected value of five of the most popular choices.

Keep in mind that the real merit of any upgrade should be the
satisfaction it brings to the homeowner.

Kitchen cabinets

When thinking about a renovation that can increase the value of
a home, or the day-to-day pleasure of living there, the first space most people
turn to is the kitchen. A major kitchen renovation requires a substantial commitment
of time and money.

But to bring yourself a little joy, or catch the eye of a
potential buyer, keep it simple and update the cabinets. You can have them custom
designed for tens of thousands of dollars. Or for far less, and almost the same
effect, get them resurfaced with a permanent veneer of wood or laminate;
according to houselogic.com it’s about half the cost of replacing them outright.
(Resurfacing cabinets in a small 10-foot by 12-foot kitchen with wood veneer
should cost under $5,000.)

More cost effective yet, especially if your house is about to go
on the market, is a coat of paint in a universally popular color and an update
of hardware to whatever’s trending.

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Zero-threshold shower

Bathrooms rank just behind kitchens as the most popular and
worthwhile area for home renovations. Yet while a down-to-the-studs bathroom
remodel can be a big ticket item costing substantially more than you’ll get
back from it (somewhere around 55% return on investment is a number commonly
used), tackling something less ambitious, such as replacing the old shower-bathtub
combo with a zero-threshold walk-in shower, makes a lot of sense.

Zerothreshold showers not only give the bathroom a contemporary look
but also eliminate worries about accessibility for older homeowners and
potential buyers. Removing the old tub and shower and getting the new shower
pan to slope into the drain isn’t a do-it-yourself job, so expect to pay up to $5,000
for the work.

The cost is substantially offset by the value you’ll add to the
house and the length of time you’ll be able to comfortably live in it.

Repair or replace windows

Among home improvement projects, replacing windows with modern,
more energy-efficient models is always popular.

You get an updated look, a reduction in your utility bill, and environmental
cred. However, windows can be expensive to replace: Top-end models can cost as
much as $1,500 or more apiece. And since it could take decades to see a return
on investment in terms of energy cost savings, most experts agree that it
usually makes more sense to repair old windows rather than replace them,
especially if their style contributes to a home’s character.

There are good arguments to the contrary, such as if an old
window frame is rotted beyond hope of saving, or your overriding concern is to
be as green as possible. But often, a bit of caulking, a little sanding, and a
coat of paint will allow an old window to look nearly as good and function nearly
as well as if it were new.

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Hardwood flooring

Hardwood floors have been eye-pleasers for centuries and remain
hugely popular.

Its initial cost is high, about three times the cost of
carpeting. So if you’re about to put your house on the market, installing
hardwood floors (or somewhat less expensive engineered wood) to boost the
selling price might not be your best investment.

If the original flooring is a liability and needs to be
upgraded, a better solution is probably carpeting or even laminate flooring, a manufactured
product that can do a good job of mimicking hardwood, but that has nowhere near
its lifespan.

However, if you’re not planning to go anywhere for a while, the
initial cost of hardwood flooring should be less of a concern. Not only because
of the pleasure its natural beauty can bring, but also because it’s easier to
keep clean than carpeting, and if refinished every 7-10 years, can outlast the
life of the house.

A fresh coat of paint

You can add stainless appliances, quartz counter tops and
gold-tone bathroom fixtures, but almost nothing will increase the appeal of any
room in your home more than a fresh coat of paint. Zillow, the online real
estate database company, even says that the shade you choose can make thousands
of dollars of difference in what a house goes for. Popular choices tend to be light,
soft hues such as pale beige and taupe.

According to homeadvisor.com, the cost to paint an average 10-foot
by 12-foot room will be between $380 and $790, not including ceilings, trim or the
paint itself.

And keep in mind that while a competent homeowner can often do
the job themselves, usually about half way through the significant prep work
required, almost everyone decides it’s a task for professionals, after all.

The post Before embarking on any large home improvement project, calculate what the payoff is — now and in the future appeared first on Greeley Tribune.

This content was originally published here.

Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Floor: Which Has a Better Resale Value?

Hardwood Flooring

iStock

Thinking about a remodel of your hard surfaces by putting in flooring made from hardwood? You’re not alone. Flooring options abound, with numerous types of hardwood on the market, plus synthetic choices that look like the real deal. And heavy foot traffic can’t hurt flooring made from hardwood the way it can new carpet.

So replacing carpeting with hardwood floors is probably a smart idea. Hardwood flooring is preferred by home buyers and renters across the United States.

But consider carefully whether hardwood floor is the right choice for every room in your home—and what type of wood flooring you might want to install for the best resale value.

Here’s more about flooring made from hardwood and using it instead of wall-to-wall carpet in the home.

Replacing carpeting with hardwood floor

As you weigh investing in hardwood for your floors, you’ll need to evaluate your budget, the preferences and traditions in your community and your own taste.

Some people only want to step on soft carpeting or area rugs in the living room and family room, while others prefer hardwood flooring surfaces. In some warm climates, such as Florida, wood flooring won’t fly. In the Sunshine State, ceramic tile flooring rivals hardwood flooring in popularity.

In more traditional markets, tastes still lean toward oak wood flooring, but some owners of more contemporary homes are choosing to refinish and stain their wood floors in different colors.

Other flooring trends in hardwood include wider planks, the use of reclaimed wood or hand-scraped wood that looks antique, and exotic species of hardwood such as hickory or walnut.

Homeowners on a tight budget may want to skip hardwood and consider laminate flooring, which offers the look of wood floors at a lower price point.

Keep in mind that a flooring choice for people with allergies typically leans toward a hard flooring surface that won’t hold dust. With flooring made from hardwood, there’s often less dirt and fewer allergens than what’s trapped in the fibers of carpet flooring.

You should also think about the care and maintenance of hardwood required for your floor surface, since you’ll need to take care of it for years. Hardwood floors last longer than carpet, can be easier to keep clean, and can be refinished.

In the end, though, the decision about whether to install hardwood floor or carpeting in a bedroom should be based on your personal preference, at least if you intend to stay in the home for a few years.

Hardwood flooring: It’s what buyers want

According to HGTV, the top request of home buyers and renters when looking for a home is hardwood floors. In fact, a study of home buyer preferences by USA Today using data from the National Association of Realtors® found that 54% of home buyers were willing to pay more for a home with hardwood flooring.

Installing hardwood floors can cost between $9 and $12 per square foot, compared with about $3 to $5 per square foot for carpet—so some homeowners opt to install hardwood floors only in some rooms rather than throughout their home.

However, carpet typically needs to be replaced if it becomes stained or worn out. High-end quality carpet can last about 10 to 15 years, while high-quality hardwood floors are long-lasting, even forever!

The return on investment for installing hardwood floors will vary according to your market and other factors, but hardwood flooring can often help your home sell faster.

Reasons to install carpeting

Don’t count out carpeting so fast! While many buyers and homeowners prefer hardwood floors throughout their home, some people prefer durable carpets with padding in the bedrooms—because they like a softer surface.

When you live in a two or three-story home, carpeting also helps muffle noise. If you would still prefer hardwood floors throughout your home, you could use area rugs in your bedroom (this way, your wood floors can be seen along the edges of the area rug).

This story was rewritten from an earlier version on realtor.com®.

The post Replacing Carpet With Hardwood Floor: Which Has a Better Resale Value? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

This content was originally published here.

Discount Hardwood Flooring | Unfinished Wood Flooring | Tigerwood

Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood flooring adds beauty and warmth to any space. When purchasing hardwood flooring, you are making an investment in your home, which you want to protect. Get the most out of your hardwood flooring by maintaining it. For tips on how to properly clean your hardwood floors, just keep reading.

When cleaning hardwood flooring, start by vacuuming or dry mopping the surface to get rid of any surface dirt or dust. Then, use a damp mop to clean the floor. Mop along the grain of the wood with a water-based cleaning solution to safely clean the floors without chemicals. After you’ve washed the floor, don’t forget to dry them with a soft cloth.

There are several things you want to avoid when cleaning your hardwood floors. For one, you don’t want to use any oils, waxes, or furniture polishes. These solutions can leave behind a residue that is slippery and streaky. They can also damage your floors if they are too strong. You also don’t want to use ammonia or alkaline products either, as these are too abrasive for hardwood flooring. Finally, don’t use too much water. Excess water can seep between the cracks of hardwood flooring and cause permanent damage or mold.

With a little bit of water, cleaning solution, and elbow grease, you can maintain the high quality of your hardwood flooring for years to come. Following these tips can protect your floors, while also keeping them clean.

If you’re considering hardwood flooring for your home, you can find an outstanding selection of choices at flooring.org. Shop for hardwood flooring for your kitchen, living room, bedroom, and so on by visiting our website today! If you have any questions, feel free to call us at 800-689-9006 or email us at sales@flooring.org.

Discount Hardwood Flooring Cleaning Tips

This content was originally published here.

If You Have Pets, Hardwood Flooring is Still a Great Option!

Hardwood Flooring

If you have pets, you may think that hardwood flooring is not an option for your home. Pets and hardwood flooring don’t always mix, but this isn’t always the case. Some hardwood flooring choices are ideal for pet owners. To learn about hardwood flooring and pets, continue on with this blog post.

First, know your woods. Learn which woods are appropriate for pets and which are not. Soft woods are not compatible with pets because they are more prone to scratches and dents. Solid hardwood flooring is more durable and can stand up against the wear and tear provided by pets.

Once you’ve found the perfect solid hardwood for your home, you can now learn how to minimize damage. One way to minimize scratching is to cut your pet’s toenails. If you can hear your pet’s toenails touching the floor as they walk, it’s time for a trim. Your pet’s toenails should be short enough to where they don’t drag on the floor.

Another way to minimize damage is by laying down rugs and runners. A rug can help your home feel cozier, and it can also protect your flooring from scratches, dents, spills, and dirt. If you have a cat, consider putting a rug down by their litter box. Litter can scratch hardwood flooring, but a rug can prevent or reduce damage.

Accidents happen, so if you have a puppy or aging animal who has an accident on your flooring, minimize damage by tending to the accident as soon as possible. Clean their accident by blotting with a paper towel and then dropping a small amount of vinegar on the stain for several minutes. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean the stain, then wipe dry with paper towels. Ammonia can track your pet back to that area and they may repeat their accident.

Now that you know how to properly pick and care for hardwood flooring as a pet owner, you can shop for hardwood flooring at flooring.org! Visit our website to browse our inventory or give us a call at 800-689-9006.

This content was originally published here.

1212 Hemingway Drive, Unity Twp, PA 15601 | Unity Twp Real Estate

Hardwood Flooring

Property Description

Breathtaking views from this Regis Pisone crafted, 4 bed, two-story, boasting a fulling landscaped private yard backing on green space in Glenn-Aire Phase II. This home was built for the entertainer. An impressive two-story family room with a gas log burning fireplace is adjacent to the to the exquisetely appointed kitchen, with leather finish granite counters and stainless appliances. The generous eating area opens to the large oversized screened porch & very spacious deck. Both overlook the back yard with in-ground saltwater pool & Laurel Highlands view. On summer evenings, fireworks from many areas can be seen from the back yard. Every detail was designed with convenience in mind – with a 1st-floor laundry, 1st-floor den and a first master suite featuring a luxurious bath & 2 walk-in closets. The walk-out lower level features a 2nd kitchen, massive game room with fireplace, a hobby or exercise room & a full bath. Hardwood flooring and molding accent each of the rooms.

This content was originally published here.

We Spent $3892.57 Managing our Kids’ Dust Allergies – and They’re Not Even Close to Under Control Yet

Hardwood Flooring

When my oldest son Paul was in first grade, we moved to a new house.

It was fall, the time of year in Michigan when everyone flocks inside and shuts up the house. I began noticing that when he was sitting in silence, it seemed like he was constantly clearing his throat.

Just a little under the radar sound. Nothing too overt.

But definitely something that made me wonder if his throat was irritated. I asked him all the time, “Is your throat sore buddy? Are you having trouble breathing? Do you need to cough?”

It never seemed to bother him and he wouldn’t complain. But it definitely grated on my ears and worse, made me start worrying about what was going on inside.

About a month after we moved in, my husband woke up one day and just couldn’t stop sneezing. He must have sneezed 200 times! (That’s what first prompted me to look into air purification.)

I immediately started shopping for an air filter, but the combination of those two experiences got me questioning our new indoor air quality.

Sneezing and Throat Clearing: Allergies or Indoor Air Quality?

Paul’s throat clearing lasted at least until spring break the first week of April. I felt like it started to clear up at that point which made me wonder about the school’s indoor air. We didn’t travel for spring break, so he was just at home more and I thought, maybe it’s not our house, maybe it’s the school. I remember trying to ascertain if his throat clearing was less severe on the weekends.

The school he was in was certainly not a new building, and it seems like there’s always some weird smells in schools, doesn’t it?

When summer came, of course, there’s lots of outside time and outdoor air, and I didn’t really notice the throat clearing issue crop up again, so I didn’t pursue it further.

Even so, anytime someone in the Kimball family had an unexplained ailment, my head went to air quality and in particular mold.

Could Mold Impact our Indoor Air Quality and Our Health?

Our windowsills get pretty gross, and you can see visible mold growing where the glass meets the wood.

I even asked Renee from MadeOn Lotion to send me some beeswax that first year with the intention of resealing all the wood around the windows and the entire house. Now eight years later, technically that’s still on my list because I never tackled the project. 🙁

I just sat around worrying.

We even had our house tested for mold just before baby number four, Gabriel, was born.

It was a home test where I had to vacuum in a couple of rooms and collect the dust in containers then send it off by mail for testing. The results were a bit confusing because they showed a slightly elevated level of a couple of kinds of mold, but some quick research seemed to determine that those types of mold weren’t that dangerous.

Here in West Michigan because of the winds coming off Lake Michigan from the west, I understand that, in general, our air quality is pretty poor because of some sort of mold coming off the lake.

So even though the results showed some problems, they were so ambiguous and so confusing that I honestly never did anything about it.

If the results had been all the way over into the red zone, clearly dangerous, I would have paid to have a professional come in and take a look. If the mold species had been clearly dangerous, I would have had a mold specialist come in to take a look.

Yet I did nothing. #momguilt

As it turns out, the EPA says that indoor air quality can be up to 100 times more toxic than outdoor air, which means my worry was not unwarranted. But what was I to do about it?

My kids are generally pretty healthy. We don’t get more colds than other people. Other than a few sniffles and weird throat clearing (which by the way also happened to Kimball kid number two, my daughter Leah, when she was in fourth and fifth grade), we didn’t have any other distressing symptoms.

The pediatrician would look in their noses and say, “Oh boy, I see some inflammation there. Do they seem to have a lot of sneezing or sniffling? Or sore throats very often?” That never seemed like a very big deal. But finally in the fall of 2018 we had two of my boys, Paul, age thirteen, and John, age seven, tested for allergies.

Environmental Allergy Testing Results Incredibly High for Dust

The results coming back were astounding. Not only did both of them have multiple environmental allergies, but when it came to dust, they were literally off the charts.

Dust allergies are measured as an IgE response in the blood on a scale of one to 100 points. If you’re over 100, that’s a class six dust allergy, the worst you can get.

Paul measured at a 93 and John was over 100 so they stopped even counting. John’s total allergenic load was over 600 which is basically the measurement of all of his allergies flaring up at once and adding together. This was huge!

D pteronyssinus and D farinae are two species of dust mites, if you’re wondering. 

I had a pretty serious conversation on the phone with our pediatrician, and she talked me through some measures we could take to control the dust in our environment.

Note: that “total number” I talked about is “total IgE level” and our ped said about it: “This is basically an indicator that his immune system is quite activated reacting to allergens. One big mechanism is by mast cells releasing histamine that cause allergy symptoms, such as swollen nasal passageways and increased snot production.” Paul’s total is 428, John’s 645.

My Kids’ Dust Allergy Symptoms

The crazy part is it neither of my boys had very severe symptoms. They weren’t sneezing all the time. Their eyes weren’t itchy. Their noses weren’t constantly plugged enough to make them miserable, and they didn’t have sore throats.

What they did have was nasal inflammation that only the pediatrician could see, and they both breathe through their mouth at night.

It turns out that mouth breathing has a lot of health hazards that weren’t really acceptable to me. I knew we had to do something about this as well. Like anything in the human body, there are so many confounding factors that it was tricky.

Could we manage our environment enough to keep dust away from them? And if so, how could we tell?

Paul, my oldest has random sniffling mostly in the morning. He’ll do a big schnock! through his nose, but he can’t really blow his nose often. However, if you ask him to breathe through his nose, he can’t actually do it. (All all. It’s crazy.)

In fact, as we moved through this process of exploring the allergies, he confessed that he was shocked out of his mind to learn that people can actually get a full breath through their nose! He just thought everyone breathes through their mouth and the nose had this tiny little passageway to let some air in, or maybe out when blowing your nose. He had no idea the nose was made for breathing, because he’s always so plugged up. I just couldn’t hear it, so I didn’t know how serious it was.

On the flip side, John is constantly sniffly, especially in the mornings. He’s always sniffling, and I will tell him to go blow his nose and he will and then he’ll sniffle some more. But he was never sneezing like crazy! His nose wasn’t running all over the place and looking disgusting, and it really didn’t impact his or my quality of life!

So again, even if we made a great impact by managing our environment, how would we know? Would they really be able to breathe better enough that we could even tell?

When the results came back, I made two initial decisions when it came to action.

One was that our first line of defense was not going to be Claritin, or any sort of prescription.

I know from all the interviews I do with experts that food allergies often go undiagnosed. So even before the blood test, I made Paul go a month dairy-free to see if that made any difference.

His sister came along with him because of her little throat clearing episodes. And lo and behold, we discovered that she does in fact have a dairy sensitivity. Paul, on the other hand, had a cold the entire month so we couldn’t learn anything from his external symptoms! (Go figure.)

We ended up going with the blood test because we hadn’t learned anything. And those dust allergies were lurking.

That brings me to decision number two: we were going to tackle the dust in our environment with a plan of destruction and go on a dust mite killing spree with all of our might and all our education and intellect behind us.

Your New Cleaning Routines to Kill and Remove Dust Mites

Your first focus needs to be on the bedroom.

And in case you haven’t dusted every nook and cranny weekly, as part of your regular routine, that’s going to change. Honestly, I knew about the hygiene theory of allergies, that perhaps because we live in such a clean society and kill all our germs, our kids are becoming more allergic. So ironically, I took it as a bit of a point of pride that I didn’t keep things too clean.

I felt that that was one area of housekeeping in my life that I could cut myself a little slack on in order to keep my sanity. Sorry Katie, no dice on that one. Going to have to spend seven hours a week cleaning now.

What You Need to Know About Killing Dust Mites

Dust mites aren’t exactly insects because they have eight legs, so they’re more like a cousin to a spider. But if you can think about killing them like you might kill insects, you’ll be on the right track.

  • Spray poison (sort of)
  • Create an environment unfriendly to dust mites (like we do when we pour out kids’ sand buckets of water to avoid mosquitoes in our backyard)
  • Boil them to death
  • Get rid of them

What’s most important to understand, however, is that a dust allergy is also an allergy to the dust mites, poop and carcasses, so you can’t just kill! You must also remove or quarantine anything that’s left behind.

4-Step Process to Keep Dust Mites Away to Reduce Allergy Symptoms Immediately

So what did we do about those dust mites?

Here’s our plan of attack organized into four phases of what you need to do, plus a list of what you may need to buy.

Step One: CLEANING

Weekly cleaning becomes a necessary evil! Here’s the short list:

  • Wash all bedding at 130F
  • Surface dusting with a damp cloth
  • Weekly carpet and hard floor management
  • Vacuuming furniture
  • Contain or freeze the stuffed animals
  • Stop making your bed

Step Two: AIR QUALITY

This is all about creating an unfriendly environment for the buggies:

  • Keep the house below 70 degrees F
  • Control the humidity to 55% or below
  • Use an air filtration unit

Step Three: ORGANIZATION/DECORATING

Yes really! You want to make the environment easier to clean while keeping as many dusty surfaces expelled from your living spaces as possible.

  • Ditch anything plush or that will hold a lot of dust
  • Buy containers for your stuff
  • No pets in the bedroom

Step Four: PERSONAL HYGIENE

  • End-of-day showers
  • Nasal rinses

You’ll find similar lists on every helpful site about dust allergies – but what I’m know for around here is making healthy habits DOable and practical. If that list seems obscure and/or overwhelming, you’re not alone!

Consider this your dust-allergy-mom support group — I’ll walk you through the nitty gritty of how to make your home as inhospitable to dust mites (and therefore as safe for your loved ones’ allergies) as possible while keeping your sanity intact. 😉

Step 1: Cleaning Routines After Dust Allergy Diagnosis

Weekly Washing of the Bedding

When I heard that I would have to wash all my kids’ bedding, from the mattress pad to the comforter, once a week with water over 130 Fahrenheit, I was quite dismayed.

I actually had “wash sheets” on my monthly cleaning list, and “wash blankets” on my seasonal cleaning list (meaning that it got done only two to four times a year). I’m pretty sure I only washed comforters either at that time or if somebody threw up or urinated on them. *cringe*

This sounded like a lot of work and a huge weight on my shoulders! Immediately after hanging up with the pediatrician, I rushed to my washing machine fully expecting there to be no “sanitize” cycle because we bought the most basic brand and unit we could so that there weren’t as many buttons to break.

I was right.

Not very many buttons means no sanitize cycle. What was I going to do?

I first set up a system with my friend down the street that at least once a month we could have an evening date, and I could wash all the bedding in her washing machine while we sipped wine and chatted. It sounded less like a chore this way, eh? 😉

Now that I think about it, this plan has an obvious hole in it because in the evening my children are in their beds! #facepalm At the time, it seemed like a pretty decent problem solving solution…

Luckily my husband and I realized that perhaps we could just make our water over 130 degrees Fahrenheit. We turned up our water heater, two clicks from where it was, waited about a half an hour, turned on the kitchen tap, burned our fingers, marveled at the steam rising toward the ceiling, and used our instant read meat thermometer to determine that yes, in fact, that was all it took to get over 130 Fahrenheit.

We built it into our routine that every Tuesday morning we would wake up, turn up the water heater, set the timer for 30 minutes and begin the long process of washing all the bedding. This takes at least four or five loads for just the two beds in question. Of course, comforters and blankets take up a lot of space and mattress pads, being so thick and heavy, often take two dryer cycles as well. #lotsoflaundry !!!

I’ve now shifted our routine a little bit so that instead of dusting and floors on one day and sheets on another, I do one room at a time. I feel like this is the best way to control the dust.

Best Laundry Practices for a Dust Mite Destruction (Learn from My Mistakes!)

There are some nuances to washing at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

For example, I learned the hard way that although drying on the highest temperature sounds like a great idea, when it comes to a waterproof mattress pad; it’s not exactly best practice. They kind of start melted together and get holes in them, and then they’re not protecting your children’s noses from the dust mites.

Learn from me and wash your waterproof items on warm and dry on low. Drying is definitely going to take two cycles so be sure to set a timer if you’re someone who tends to ignore the dryer buzzer like I am.

You’ve got to really be disciplined to get everything through in one day. And if you work out of the home, this is going to have to be a weekend project almost certainly. Now that I’ve learned my lesson, I do the pillowcases and mattress pad together so I get the dryer cycle right. I think I will be brave and try to wash them on hot again, but always dry on low.

It can actually get kind of expensive to do all this extra laundry. So I highly recommend using soap nuts as your detergent.

They’re a completely natural product, literally right off the tree, and they do a great job of getting things clean. By the way, clean smells like nothing, it doesn’t smell like flowers or fabric softener. 🙂

If you have a child with environmental allergies (or adult family member for that matter), it’s really important to reduce their overall toxic body burden. More on this later, but suffice it to say that the more natural your laundry soap is, the better off everyone becomes.

What I love about soap nuts is that you put five of these little nuts into a muslin bag, and then you can reuse that same bag for four to five washes. For me, that’s perfect because that’s exactly how many washes I need to to to get through all this bedding. So I just use one batch of nuts and then dump them out at the end of the two day process. It’s much more frugal than other detergents!

– I’ve enjoyed them for nearly a decade now! Get my favorite brand from Naturoli’s store.

Dust All Surfaces With a Wet Cloth

Dry dusting won’t cut it here folks! That’s just stirring up the problem and spreading it around. I recommend using a microfiber cloth to really pick up the dust as best you can.

I’ve taken to spraying with Greenbug, which uses natural cedar oil to kill insects. This is my “kill and remove” plan.

I dust everything from the tops of furniture, to the fan blades, to the shelves, to the tops of any toy boxes that are around, to the window coverings and blinds.

Now for some bad news: this takes a really long time!

In fact, the first time I decided to really tackle the blinds in Paul’s room, I timed myself.

Using a wet cloth and going back and forth back and forth pinching each little piece of blind between my fingers and the cloth took 15 minutes — and that was just a single window! He has two. 🙁

Plus I broke one or two of the pieces along the way! This is not sustainable, so a shade that is not vinyl and not fabric but is completely flat is high on my list to purchase. I know I could take the blinds down and put them in the bathtub…and maybe I’m just lazy, but that sounds like one of the circles of hell for me to do every week! Plus better to have a flat shade that can’t really collect dust all week, because you know the DAY after you dust, it’s really all starting to accumulate again anyway…

After that disheartening experience, I took to the 80/20 route. The blinds could not be my singular focus. I would spray them with Greenbug and quickly wipe them down all one direction or try to keep them open, at least in times of year where the sun is not waking up my children.

For now it’s the best I can do.

Side note: I just told you to buy microfiber cloth but I’m conflicted about that because they’re made of plastic and release micro plastics into the water every time you wash them. I think any old towel, rag or t-shirt cut in half will probably do fine as long as you make sure it’s nice and moist to really pick up all the dust mites and their junk.

Caring for the Floors in a Dust Allergic House

If you are fortunate enough to have hard flooring already in a bedroom or main living areas, use the same strategy. Wipe down with a moist cloth or mop at least once a week. Some sources say white vinegar may kill dust mites, or you could make a solution with some eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil. Please read this post on child safe oils first if you have kids under the age of 10.

If you have carpet, our pediatrician told me not to overdo it. Try to vacuum once or twice a week, but make sure that you have a vacuum with a HEPA filter.

Your family member who is allergic to dust should not do the vacuuming unless they have a mask. They definitely shouldn’t empty the vacuum cleaner if at all possible.

We ordered a few different brands of masks (Here’s our black one). My kids look pretty cool in them, don’t you think? 😉

I asked Paul how they felt, and he very emphatically and quickly shared his review of the black mask versus the red one. He says the black is much nicer because the red doesn’t smell very good, makes his face feel hotter, and is somehow harder to breathe through.

Some recommendations say that you can sprinkle diatomaceous earth on the carpet, leave for a few hours and then vacuum it up. This is also possible to do on mattresses and furniture, although I would spot check first because even though DE is dry, it may leave a mark on some upholstery. This one comes with a “duster” tool for applying. Note: While laying down and vacuuming DE, all people should wear a mask. You don’t want to be breathing in this dust!

I have yet to try this, but I love the idea because it’s so natural and safe. You can even ingest it, food-grade only, as part of a parasite cleanse protocol! 😮 Diatomaceous earth is basically like sharp knives for any insect or arachnid walking over it, and it should really help to kill the dust mites so your vacuuming efforts can remove them. Off to the garage to get mine!

Vacuuming dust

Time to Vacuum Your Furniture

In my sloppy housekeeping, vacuuming furniture was something that might get done every few years or so. Suddenly, because we do have upholstered furniture and aren’t ready to go buy a new couch and armchair quite yet, vacuuming every bit of the furniture is on the weekly chore list. Sigh…

My husband (bless his heart!) took that upon himself. I pretty much take care of the bedrooms and he vacuums and dusts our living room. (In case you’re wondering how much time this all may take, I’ve recorded our actual time expenditures below.)

One neat tool I found is a Housmile UV anti-dust mite cleaner that uses heat and UV rays to kill the dust mites. I thought it would be great for furniture in particular, then my weakness kicked in.

I have a strange phobia of new things and reading instructions, which is why, for example, my Instant Pot link stayed in its box for six months to a year before I opened it. This neat little tool is unfortunately still in its box…but now that I’m writing this post, I have at least put it in my way so maybe I have a chance of breaking it out and trying it! Oops…

If you are fortunate enough to already have furniture made of leather or plastic or wood, you can just wipe them down with a wet cloth just like you would dust anything else. If you do have that upholstery, steam cleaning is another recommendation, but for me it was just too much for the to-do list to handle.

Speaking of the to-do list, if it would help you at all to have a structure, here’s how we get the house (bedrooms especially) clean to get rid of what I feel is the maximum level of dust mites:

Our Weekly Routine to Attack Dust Mites in the Kids’ Bedrooms

  1. Dust everything with a spray that kills dust mites from top to bottom. Be sure to get the blinds, fan blades, then all the surfaces. You’re stirring up a lot of dust so it’s good that the dirty bedding is still on the bed.
  2. If you have any upholstered furniture in the bedroom, DE them and vacuum thoroughly. (You may want to ditch extra furniture in bedrooms!)
  1. Vacuum or wet mop the floor. You may want to wait an hour between dusting and vacuuming to really let all that dust settle back onto the floor so you have the best chance of getting the most out of there.
  2. Strip the bed and begin the process of doing laundry. We always wash from the bottom up. In other words, the mattress pad first, then the sheets, then the cozy top covers. That way if we get behind a load and something isn’t finished, at least kids can lay down and sleep and we can grab a blanket from another room to cover them for one night.
  3. Remake the bed and tuck in the clean children who have hopefully just had their baths.

On yet another day of the week, we tackle the main living area(s) of the house top to bottom as well.

Stuffed Animals and Other Things you Didn’t Even Know Were Hazards

When you look around your child’s bedroom, suddenly you will see all sorts of things (like millions and millions!) that can gather dust and are making your child sick. It’s an awful pit of the stomach sinking feeling.

The worst part for many families is that stuffed animals are perhaps the most hazardous of all because they’re nearly impossible to wash and they often sleep right in the bed with your child breathing in dust mites and poop right off their favorite stuffies.

Best practice is to simply remove them from the bedroom entirely, and better yet, from the whole house. If that’s just not going to happen, which is the decision I made, there is an alternative.

You can freeze the stuffed animals for 24 hours then take them outside and have a dance party (i.e., shake them vigorously to get all the dust mites and excrement off!).

Unfortunately, skin cells will continue to get on the stuffies, dust mites will continue to feed on the skin cells, and you will continue to have to do this practice on a somewhat regular basis. Have an “eat down the freezer week” so you can make space! I’ve also taken to spraying Greenbug on the stuffies as at least a very mild form of attack.

Finally the Good News — Don’t make your bed.

This one is so funny because our mothers all taught us to make our beds and it certainly makes the room look nicer and more put together.

But when it comes to dust mites, it’s actually better to leave the bed unmade.

This allows moisture to evaporate and it can be a little easier to just shake things out before you climb in bed in order to get the dust mites on the floor apparently. Which is why (see above) you are regularly cleaning that floor with a wet cloth!

What’s the deal with dust mites and moisture? Let’s dive into the next section.

Step 2: Managing the Air to Improve Dust Allergy Symptoms

Let’s talk a little about a dust mite’s two best friends (aside from human skin cells): heat and humidity.

Dust mites thrive in moist, warm conditions. So if you can control heat and humidity, you get a leg up.

Keep Your Thermostat Below 70 Degrees and Make Those Dust Mites Downright Uncomfortable

I love this tip for the winter, because of course it’s a budget saver as well. If you set your thermostat below 70F, you are creating an environment that is unstable for dust mites. Haha! Exactly what you want!

We keep ours at 68F anyway and just wear nice thick socks and sweaters. In the summer, this is not so exciting because it costs more to bring the temperature down. But again in the summer your windows can be open and the air circulating will help dissipate the dust mites anyway.

Humidity can be controlled by using a dehumidifier in the bedroom. Again in the summer, we just kind of let things roll with whatever is happening outside because I appreciate fresh air so much.

But in the winter, we bring our dehumidifier up from the basement and put it in Paul’s room where he has carpet. John, our eight year old who also has a dust allergy, actually has hardwood floors in his room because the previous homeowner had a child with serious indoor environmental allergies. (Go figure! This sort of brings me back to worrying about my household air…)

If your dehumidifier has a percentage sensor, you can set it to run below 55%. Ours does, so that’s easy. Here are hygrometer to measure humidity and keep it below 55%.

If your child is old enough and strong enough, emptying his or her own dehumidifier bucket regularly can build responsibility.

Filter That Dust Right out of the Air

Once you’ve controlled temperature and humidity, you can still do more to clean the air and make it safer for your allergenic family member.

First, make sure that you have extra heavy duty filters in your heating and cooling unit. Everyone buys filters, and I always used to buy the $5 cheapest kind.

Now the ones we have to buy cost almost five times as much, but at least the whole house is being filtered much more effectively.

Look for a HEPA filter with an MERV rating of 11 or 12. You’ll notice that these are generally thicker than what you’re used to, about three or four inches thick. We bought these are also good but most cost efficient.

You can take air filtration up another level by installing portable air filter units, particularly in the bedrooms and in main living spaces. We have five air filters in our house, one in each bedroom and one in our office on the main floor.

AirDoctor is our preferred brand right now, and I love them because they have extremely powerful HEPA filters and beyond. And rather than having to set a calendar reminder to clean or change the filters, the unit tells me when the filter needs to be changed.

There’s even an extra feature to ionize the air which can add another layer of protection. You should see how the automatic fan speed kicks up when I’m dusting, spraying hairspray or cooking up a storm in the kitchen! It’s both scary and comforting to know that (1) my air quality is getting pretty bad, and (2) at least I’m doing something about it! (The boys like when it’s on high because it will float balloon forever!)

When I first purchased the air filters, I was really curious how I would know if they were working.

At night, I would close the boys’ door, then a few hours later come back and specifically pay very close attention to how the air felt. I would take a deep breath out in the hallway and focus on the smell, taste and feel of the air. Then I would open the door quickly, sneak into the room and take another breath.

I know this is incredibly subjective and a data set of n=1, but I’m telling you I could feel that the air was cleaner, I could smell it. I’m really happy that we have these going at all times in the bedrooms!

Get rid of dust allergies isn’t as simple as dusting once a week…or even once a day. Download the printable list of baby steps you can take to kill dust mites and start removing them from your home!

CLICK HERE TO GO ON A DUST MITE KILLING SPREE

Step 3: Reorganizing a Room to Prevent Dust Mites From Being in Control

Obviously adding an air filtration unit in each room will “reorganize” things and redecorate a little bit.

I also propose that many of our habits as Americans with all of our stuff can be very detrimental to those with environmental allergies! The photo above is my little boys’ room before we learned about the dust allergies. No WAY could I control dust in that space!

Tomorrow’s post will share some of the strategies that we used right away to try to reduce the surfaces on which dust could gather, basically a “toy organization for dust allergies” tutorial.

The quick summary?

Pare down what’s in the room and then make everything dustable, flat, without extra grooves to waste your weekly cleaning time.

It was a tub extravaganza!

Step 4: Personal Hygiene that May Relieve Dust Allergy Symptoms

So far we’ve talked about some ways to kill the dust mites, how to remove them through cleaning routines, how to get rid of absorbent materials that can’t be washed, how to think about reorganizing the nooks and crannies of your bedroom.

Now we get to talk about actually getting the dust off of and out of the person.

Before Bed Showers May Help

This is quite laughable in my house because generally my kids have no idea how many days it’s been since their last shower, but it’s a great idea nonetheless! 🙂

At the end of the day, when you’re covered with literally the dust and grime of the day, why not take a shower at that point? Now you’re clean just before you put on clean (or fairly clean) pajamas and climb into your bed, which of course has no more than six days of accumulation. Of course, a bath would suffice as well.

Rinse Out Your Nostrils to Expel the Dust Mites

It’s quite disgusting to think about all that gets caught in our nose hairs, isn’t it? But that’s what they’re there for their our own little personal air filter. Unfortunately, when you’re allergic to something, the dust and pollen that’s trapped in your nasal passages can be exacerbating your symptoms all night long. It’s a wise habit to use a nasal rinse daily or every other day and it can really alleviate your symptoms overnight.

Even if you can’t get into daily habit, you may particularly want to rinse out the nasal passages, if you have been dusting with or without a mask or have environmental allergies to animal dander or pollen and have been exposed because of some fun romps with pets or outside in the grass.

My kids will tell you that at first, the nasal rinse was absolutely awful, and some of them still have a distaste for it more than others. But after a while, you kind of get used to it, and it can just be part of the routine like, “Go potty, brush your teeth, squirt water through your nose.”

There are extra packets of saline solution).

The way these things work is that you squeeze a soft plastic bottle full of a slightly saline solution into one nostril. And it goes up and over out the other nostril. Obviously you’re leaning over a sink. Have a tissue or handkerchief handy.

What You Need to Buy to Reduce Dust Mites

The first focus is always on the bedroom, because that’s where we humans spend the most time.

Here at Kitchen Stewardship our focus has always been on balancing the budget along with your health and time, so trust me when I say I’ll never recommend that you purchase something unnecessary.

These items are a first line of defense against dust mites and pretty much obligatory if you get a dust allergy diagnosis:

And to be honest? If you’re a human with nostrils who breathes air, you should probably start protecting your beds like this, because dust mites (and other nasties that live and grow in mattresses and pillows) aren’t really good for anyone!!! Links provided below and full waterproof/dust-mite-proof mattress cover and pillowcase review coming soon — they haven’t all lasted the year, and as usual, I bought MANY brands to test out for you!!! 

  • Get hypo-allergenic pillows with a dust-mite proof cover on them (no more than 0.1 millimeters space between the weave). See my review of which ones lasted and which ones melted, coming soon!
  • Put hypo-allergenic covers on all mattresses in the room (zippered closure that completely encases the mattress is best). Note that not all hypo-allergenic covers are waterproof, but we DID go with waterproof in addition for our little boys who are still in the “mattress wrecking” phase of life as far as bodily fluids go.
  • Comforters should have hypoallergenic fill, which usually means polyester.

What You May Decide to Buy Later (Advanced Defense Against Dust Mites)

If you get really serious about reducing the dust in your home, there are some BIG changes you can make that signify a bigger investment.

If you’re remodeling or buying new furniture anyway, keep these thoughts in mind:

  • Non-upholstered furniture is ideal, so keep that in mind if you refurnish a room.
  • Buy flat shades instead of blinds and get rid of any upholstered curtains that you can’t wash regularly (or aren’t willing to) — especially in bedrooms for both.

How Expensive is it to Manage a Dust Allergy?

I’m a bit flabbergasted by how much all these little changes have added up financially, not counting any furniture or flooring decisions. In the interest of telling the full story, I kept careful track of how much we spent, and I’ll share it here.

Note: Even when I link to a product, the price is simply what I paid for in late 2018/early 2019. You may end up spending more or less on the same products, and I was often able to shop locally but will link you nationally.

One-time costs:

  • Tubs to store toys etc: $121.28
  • New nightstand (because Paul had open shelving): not yet!
  • Hardwood flooring: Coming…many thousands of dollars!
  • New blinds? Coming…
  • Norwex spray + mitt with neighbor discount: $42.90
  • Total one-time costs: $1514.76 (and truly so much more will be spent as we tackle the larger, one-time items…)

Recurring costs:

  • Norwex spray: (not sure I’d continue this though)
  • I bought 4 years worth of filters – so that will run ours for 1 year and a bit b/c we have 4: $497.90
  • (before even tackling any regular Homeopathics or allergy shots/drops to actually cure these allergies!)

Time spent per week:

In my book at this phase in my life, time is even more valuable than money. This has been exhausting, and I’m not always great at keeping up — and then the mom-guilt kicks in because I feel like I’m hurting my kids every time I walk past a surface that’s visibly dusty (every hour!) or think about whether I’m a few days overdue on the weekly cleaning.

When I assessed all I would have to do weekly, I guessed that it would be many hours, so I kept track. I was right:

  • Washing bedding: 45-60 minutes
  • Vacuuming room well: 15 minutes
  • Sweeping and wet mopping: 45 minutes
  • Vacuuming upholstered furniture (only 2 pieces): 45 minutes+
  • Wet dusting entire house: 90 minutes
  • Wet Dusting blinds well – 15 minutes per blind, plus I broke 1-2 each time
  • Vacuuming common areas 2x/week: 1 hour more than we used to spend
  • Emptying dehumidifier bucket: 10 mins.
  • TOTAL WEEKLY TIME: approximately 5 1/2 to 6 hours per week!

Initial time spent:

  • 45 minutes picking up Paul’s floor
  • Paul organizing room…so much time!
  • Tub shopping – 2 hours (measuring too)
  • Reorganizing toys for the boys…3-4 hours?
  • Research on pillowcases and mattress covers: 30 mins.
  • Other research including calling about drops: 2-10 hours?
  • Going to allergy appointment: 4 hours including travel time 25 minutes one direction, plus another 2 appointments to come for 3-4 more hours.

It’s been an interesting year to say the least, and I’ve had a pretty massive learning curve.

The worst (or best?) part is that when it comes to people buying my kids toys, I find myself saying, “They really can’t keep that in their room – dust allergies.” It’s a wee bit sad for them, but I’m not crying to have less clutter! I also would say that phrase over the summer on vacation about knick knacks and decorative items they wanted to buy for themselves.

Overall we’re getting into a routine, falling out of it, reminding ourselves that it’s important, trying again…and ultimately raising the white flag. (More on that in another post.)

Our Dirty Indoor Air Vs. Our Clean Living

Now I still find myself wondering about mold in our house, but the more pressing concern has become: do BOTH of my other children have environmental allergies, and WHY did they all overfill their histamine buckets at such a young age?!?

When I was first checking my kids’ breathing at night to see if they were mouth breathing a few years ago at the pediatrician’s request, little Gabriel slept peacefully with his lips sealed. Now that he’s nearly five, I have discovered with dismay that when I check on him and big brother John (they share a bed), his mouth is hanging open as well.

Sigh…

At first I was in denial. Maybe it’s not true! Maybe it’s a fluke, just tonight! Maybe he’s getting a cold!!

But at his last well child check-up this fall, the pediatrician identified nasal inflammation and explained to my husband and me about other signs of allergies she was seeing in Gabe.

We won’t be surprised if his allergy tests show a bunch of problems as well, but at least if we nab them early we’ll avoid some of the expensive dental work John’s mouth breathing has caused him!

And Leah is in a phase where being stuck with a needle is a hard no, so we don’t know what environmental allergies she has. Even though she is strictly off dairy, I still see those darker circles under her eyes.

The good news is what Dr. Christine Schafer of Grand Rapids Allergy said about their symptoms. With the boys’ IgE numbers being so exceptionally high, I’ve always been shocked that their symptoms aren’t more severe.

I asked her if it’s possible that our care with other areas of life: clean eating, less sugar, avoiding toxins – could perhaps have reduced their overall “bucket” of disease and made their bodies more likely to be able to handle those allergies.

She looked thoughtful and agreed that yes, she would expect to see more severe symptoms with numbers like that. She said she liked my theory and that she would absolutely believe that it could be a cause and effect relationship.

At least we’re doing something right!

More to come over the next few weeks on dust allergies and treatments, and if you’re ready to clean your air, you’re invited to a class with the inventor of AirDoctor this week! 

Have you ever dealt with dust allergies in your house?

Sources:

The post We Spent $3892.57 Managing our Kids’ Dust Allergies – and They’re Not Even Close to Under Control Yet appeared first on Kitchen Stewardship | Real Food and Natural Living.

This content was originally published here.

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Should You Use Vinegar to Clean Hardwood Flooring? | iwilldecor

Hardwood Flooring

Sleep expert, professional interior and luxury sheet sets designer Jennifer Adams is back to answer your questions and provide some helpful advice! Today we consider whether vinegar is a good cleaning agent to use with hardwood flooring:

Why Do My Floors Look Dull? I Try to Be Very Intentional About Cleaning Them!

I really appreciate you reaching out to ask about best approaches for cleaning your hardwood floors. I’m so sorry to hear that the finish on your floors looks to have become dulled, I know how frustrating that can be! Depending on exactly which type of finish you have on your flooring, it’s indeed possible that the vinegar or some other acidic cleaner you’ve used could have led to some dulling of the finish. I will also tell you from experience that there’s a chance your finish hasn’t really been dulled. It’s possible that there’s just some dried, leftover cleaning product on the surface of your flooring that’s making it look dull. I’d recommend you try cleaning a patch of your floor with just a mop and some warm water, just to see if that helps.

Check with the Manufacturer

Hopefully you kept all the paperwork from when you had your floors installed, and have been following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions to the T. If you’ve been doing that and the finish has still become dull, you should take it up with the manufacturer or installer, especially if your floors are still under warranty. Even if your warranty no longer applies, it would still be a good idea to ask the manufacturer for suggestions about what might bring back the shine. If all else fails, you may just need to have your flooring refinished or replaced.

Good Tips for Cleaning Hardwood

The key to cleaning any hardwood floor is to try and be as gentle as possible. For starters, you need to regularly be removing dust and grit. To that end, I’d recommend a vacuum over a broom. Sweeping tends to rearrange and redistribute dirt and dust more than it actually removes it. For some deeper cleaning or spot cleaning after you vacuum, I don’t recommend using regular soap or detergent products. Rather, use a non-acidic, CO2-based spray cleanser that’s designed for hardwood floors, and go over your floors with a padded microfiber cloth mop that’s just slightly dampened.

Don’t Use Any More Water Than Necessary

If you’re not sure about your finish, it’s generally safe to just go with a cloth that’s barely damp. If possible, it’s always advisable to test in an inconspicuous corner first. Never – and I mean NEVER – pour water or any other fluids on a hardwood floor. The fluids can easily seep into the wood, potentially causing warping, staining, or other significant damage to your flooring.

A Few Final Thoughts

I hope you’ll find these tips to be helpful. I’d love to hear about anything else that works well for you. My two great passions are home décor/maintenance and sleep science. And speaking of the latter, if you’d like to experience some fresh bedding that perfectly balances style, softness, and comfort, I hope you’ll take a moment to peruse our Luxury Bedding Collections at Jennifer Adams!

This content was originally published here.