Thursday, March 22, 2018

Healthy Home - Hazardous Waste Disposal

Healthy Hazardous Waste Disposal 

Americans are recycling more than ever before. According to the EPA, the United States recycles nearly a third of the waste it produces, a 100 percent increase since 1990.
But while recycling programs around the country have become more accessible and it's easier to process paper, plastic, and glass, hazardous materials have remained difficult to dispose of properly. And household hazardous waste (HHW) is a serious problem: The average American home contains 100 pounds of leftover paint, motor oil, pesticides, fluorescent light bulbs, aerosol cans, computers, TVs, batteries, smoke detectors, and other dangerous items no one wants piling up in the garage. Of course, no one wants them to get into the environment, either.

There's a long list of hazardous waste that should never be thrown in the garbage (to familiarize yourself with it, visit Many communities offer safe hazardous-waste-disposal sites and events. Check with your local landfill or health department to find out the rules in your area, and follow them. Never dump toxins into sewers, as they will eventually flow into rivers and the sea. Likewise, don't dump paint or oil into backyard pits, which used to be a common disposal method. Be especially vigilant about recycling ionization smoke detectors, which contain small amounts of radioactive material, and ask if your local sanitation department will drain the Freon out of old air conditioners and refrigerators before disposing of them.

More Careful
Electronics are one of the most hazardous types of household waste, and most people don't know how to dispose of them properly. Sadly, even if you take your old computer or television to an electronics "recycling" station, the item is likely to be shipped to a foreign country, where it will be dismantled for its most valuable materials, such as precious metals, while the rest ends up in a landfill and poisons local water supplies with mercury, lead, and a number of other toxins. The Basel Action Network, which monitors toxic waste, maintains a list of recyclers around the country, called "e-Stewards," who have committed to recycling electronics in an environmentally friendly manner. Most reputable companies will charge you to recycle small electronics, since it is actually quite expensive to do so responsibly.

Most Careful
The most careful action you can take is also probably the easiest: Try to avoid toxic products whenever possible. Opt for less-toxic versions of insecticides, cleaners, and other products. Replace electronics only when you must, and always find a reputable electronics recycler for your old gear when you do need to buy a new computer, cell phone, or MP3 player. File recycling information about each new purchase, such as ink cartridges, alongside the warranty, or tape the information to the product, if practical.

Check with your landfill or health department to learn about the rules in your area.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Ultimate Guide to Carpet and Rugs

Nothing beats carpet for its wealth of colors, textures, and patterns -- not to mention wiggle-your-toes comfort. Follow our decorating and buying guide information to choose carpet and rugs that will warm your floors and enrich your lifestyle. 

The Appeal of Carpet 

Carpet lends just the cozy and inviting atmosphere we desire in our home's living spaces. From room to room, carpet soothes underfoot and appeals to our senses of sight and touch. Using gentle flooring, such as carpet, consistently throughout also makes a small house feel bigger.

Choices A-Plenty

Choose wall-to-wall carpet to add continuity to your home. Design options are plentiful, with a wealth of colors, textures, and patterns available.

A Restful Choice

Carpet is a natural fit in the bedroom thanks to its soft, warm, comforting nature. Choose neutral patterns and colors to create a soothing, relaxing backdrop to this restful room and let the personality of the space take the visual lead.

Added Function

Not only does carpet add warmth to our floors, it adds sound insulation, too. This makes it an ideal choice not only for bedrooms, but for home entertainment spaces.

Layer Carpet with Rugs

Use carpet to lay a neutral base to all the rooms in your house. Then, layer on area rugs in individual rooms to add a splash of color and personality, create texture, or define a space within a space.

Know Your Carpet Fibers

Don't less carpet vocabulary dampen your shopping success. Know your fibers to make an educated decision.
-- Polyester is the least expensive type of carpet (commonly found in home-center-grade carpets), but its also the least resilient. Choose polyester for low-traffic rooms.
-- Nylon is much more durable, with good resilience, color retention, and stain and abrasion resistance. If you can afford the upgrade, choose nylon for long-term wear ability throughout your house.
-- Polypropylene is stain and abrasion resistant like nylon, but less bouncy underfoot. This fiber is best in loop- and dense-cut pile carpets.
-- Wool is the most expensive option, boasting great resilience and strength, but should be treated to repel stains and resist static electricity.

Modular Option

While wall-to-wall carpet requires professional installation, there are do-it-yourself options, called modular carpet tiles. These individual pieces of carpet not only offer a way to install it yourself, they also make it easy to replace individual tiles due to stains or wear.

Adding Rugs

Whether wood, tile, or carpet set the background for your rooms from wall to wall, you can always enhance your décor with rugs. Available in large area rugs or smaller accent rugs, they can be the starting point of a room's entire decorating focus or the finishing touch. They also add depth and dimension by adding layers underfoot.

Design Inspiration

Let a rug that you love lead the way to a room's decorative character. The style, pattern, and colors established in the prominent floor covering can be a springboard for wall color, furniture selection, and accessories.

Select the Right Style

An area rug can compliment (or establish) the style of a room, depending on the pattern, color, and weave you choose. In an eclectic or whimsical room, add a colorful, loose weave or plush shag rug. Choose Oriental or Persian rugs for traditional décor. Compliment contemporary design with a geometric pattern or a tone-on-tone rug.

Set Some Boundaries

Define spaces within rooms with the addition of an area rug. A large rug draws a seating arrangement together to create a more intimate setting.

Define the Dining Area

The dining room is a good place to use a rug to define space. An area rug beneath the dining table and chairs grounds this functional area and subtly unites the mass of furniture legs. For the right fit, the rug should be large enough for chairs to push back from the table and remain on the rug.

Plush Benefits

Rugs add texture and warmth underfoot. Use their nature to your benefit where you could use an extra layer of comfort -- such as that first step out of bed in the morning, or in a family room, where people love to stretch out on the floor to play games or watch a movie.

Make an Area Rug

Can't find the perfect area rug? Have one made by binding a piece of wall-to-wall carpet. Not only do you get exactly what you want in pattern and color, you get it in precisely the size and shape you need.

Shopping Tips

Consider these tips and resources as you set out on the adventure of shopping for flooring.
-- Take along paint chips and fabric swatches to narrow down the vast array of color and pattern choices. You'll still want to bring home samples to make your final decisions in the space and lighting of your own home. But having these elements along in the showroom will help you weed out absolutely "won't work" options from the beginning.
-- Take rough room measurements ahead of time. Although you'll need precise measurements before installation, estimates will let you get a quick cost figure in mind as you shop. You want to know if a certain material you fall in love with really is within your budget.

Monday, March 19, 2018

4 Tips And Tricks For Cleaner And Softer Towels

There is perhaps no better feeling than coming out of the shower or bath wrapping up in a soft and fluffy towel. But there are times when towels don’t feel as soft as they should be. This can be due to hard water, which makes them feel rough by leaving traces of minerals on the fabric.

The trick is to remove these hard water deposits without causing damage to the towel. If you’re thinking of going to the supermarket to buy expensive chemicals, think again. It’s always best to use natural ingredients in order to get the most benefits. Try these 4 tricks to give you softer, more fragrant towels in no time.
1. Use a vinegar, baking soda and water solution
For fresh smelling towels, there is no need to use chemical softeners as these products can damage your towels. Just a few simple ingredients that are easily available in your home will do the trick. After programming the washing machine for a hot wash, load it with the towels and add a cup of diluted white vinegar.

At the end of the first wash cycle, repeat the procedure, but this time, replace the vinegar with baking soda. White vinegar contains acetic acid, which helps eliminate bacteria and moisture, while baking soda, helps remove the dirt and neutralize odors. Bear in mind that this technique shouldn’t be used every time you wash your towels. Just once every fortnight would suffice. This trick will also work well on brand new bed sheets that are rough to the touch. Instead of using fabric softener to soften your sheets, it’s best to use white vinegar to soften them up and give them a fresh smell.

2. To prevent your towels from smelling musty and damp, hang them in the open air to dry naturally
Once you have finished washing your towels or drying yourself up after shower, it’s important to hang them in the open air to dry well. Moisture will not only make the fabric smell sour, but it also provides breeding ground for bacteria.

 Always make sure your towels are completely dry after use as this will prevent the formation of bad odors.
We often think that, to achieve softer towels, it’s necessary to use large quantities of detergent. But these detergents tend to accumulate chemicals that will actually prevent the fabric from absorbing water. We have 2 more tricks that will give you better results.
3. Use fabric softener with white vinegar
Although fabric softener won’t necessarily make towels softer, you can combine it with white vinegar for maximum results. Simply add your favorite fabric softener with half a cup of white vinegar to every other wash for smoother, fresher towels.

Fabric softeners don’t let too much water absorb into the fabric, thus helping them stay softer for longer. These conditioners also protect towels from wear and tear so they retain their fluffiness.
Another helpful tip that will give you fluffy towels is to throw in two or three tennis balls in the tumble dryer whenever your towels need drying up. Tennis balls help fluff up cotton fabrics as well as prevent them from getting wrinkled.
4. If your towels smell like mildew, use essential oils
If you have ever forgotten to unload the washing machine right after washing your towels, then you know what it’s like to end up with damp-smelling towels. This smell can linger on the towels for several days, but there is a way to get rid of it naturally.

Add two to three drops of essential oils directly to the detergent section of your washing machine and then, re-start the wash as usual. No more mildew smell! Try these tricks with your next towel wash and see for yourself.