As we navigate our way through this summer, many of us are likely spending more of this season at our homes than usual. While relaxing outdoors can be a great way to spend your time, you might find that you are running into bug issues. Unfortunately, nice weather usually means an increase in pesky bug activities. Here are 5 simple ways to make sure you can enjoy your space outside and make your home a bug-free zone.
Get rid of any standing water.
Make sure you clean out gutters and downspouts regularly. While you may be aware that stagnant water attracts bugs, you may not realize those gutters can trap water and become a mosquito breeding ground. You should keep kiddie pools and watering cans empty when not in use.
Add plants that bugs hate.
Mint and citrus plants are your best bet to battling bugs you may not want around. Here are some pest-repelling plants and the bugs that hate them: Some of the best additions to your garden to keep bugs out are: basil, catnip, citronella, lemon thyme, lavender, marigold, rosemary.
Keep a tidy yard.
Bugs, especially ticks, love to hide in tall grass. Make sure you are mowing your lawn regularly and making sure plants aren’t crowding your home or giving bugs easy access inside.
Don’t mulch too much (or too close)!
Mulch generates heat as it decomposes, so it gives cockroaches and ants an ideal environment to nest and end up inside your home. Try to keep mulch areas a foot or so from your home’s foundation or consider inorganic mulch options.
Install patio fans.
An easy way to get rid of mosquitos is to add a patio fan to your outdoor space. Their bites are a pain, but they don’t put up much of a defense when they are pushed away by outdoor fans.
That orange box of baking soda tucked away in your fridge or kitchen cabinet can also be an inexpensive, and earth-friendly, solution for your laundry needs. It’s safe to use in both standard and high-efficiency washers and is one of the best products available to reduce your dependence on chemicals. Let’s take a look into the top 5 ways baking soda can be used in your laundry room:
Reduce and Remove Laundry Odor
The body odors found on our clothing and linens are caused by different types of bacteria. These bacteria are removed when the detergent’s molecules break them up and flush them away from the clothing. Less expensive detergents generally don’t have strong enough enzymes to remove all of the bacteria, so baking soda will be a great boost to your detergent’s bacteria fighting power. Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to each laundry load to make your detergent work more effectively.
Boost Bleach Performance
Bleach is often used to removed odors and stains from our laundry; however, if the water is to acidic, bleach doesn’t do it’s job as effectively. Just as it boosts detergent performance, baking powder can also help how effectively your bleach works. Which equates to less use of bleach and it’s negative impact on our environment.
Use As A Natural Fabric Softener
Baking soda is great for regulating your water’s pH level in your washer. It does this by making sure the rinse water is not too acidic or full of alkaline. 1/2 cup of baking soda to each rinse cycle with balance the mineral deposits in the water and keep them off of your clothes. It’s the minerals that make your clothing feel stiff, baking soda is a shield for your clothes from these minerals.
Great For Cleaning Irons
Baking soda is a gentle and earth-friendly abrasive. The face plate of an iron is notorious for building up starch and scorch deposits. To remove this build-up, mix a paste of water and baking soda and rub the paste over the face of the cool iron with a white cloth. Gently wipe the build-up away. You can finish with a wipe of white vinegar with a fresh towel.
Controls Water Suds
If you accidentally use regular laundry detergent on a washing machine that requires HE detergent, you’ll get a mess of suds. They might be fun to look at, but they are a pain to clean up. If you make this mistake, just grab a box of baking soda and sprinkle it directly on the suds to break them down. The baking soda is good at absorbing the moisture and will make clean-up much easier.
Every year, more than 2900 home fires are started by clothes dryers. The leading cause of these fires is from a build of up lint from lack of maintenance. The removable lint filter, unfortunately, doesn’t catch all of the cloth and fabric particles, so maintenance requires a little more than just emptying the filter after each load. Whether you live in your own home or plan to purchase in the near future, it’s important to have safeguards in place for the utilities that you use that could put your home at risk. You want to make sure that the lint that gets trapped in crevices and in the hose on its way outside are thoroughly cleaned.
Here are a few warning signs to look for that may indicate your dryer is getting clogged up by lint:
- Clothes are taking a lot longer to dry, and sometimes not even drying all the way.
- Clothes may be hotter by the end of the cycle.
- The outside of the dryer starts to get really hot.
- The outside exhaust vent flapper isn’t opening much.
- The laundry room begins to feel really humid.
- There is a burnt smell in the laundry room.
If this seems to be the case, then you’ll want to evaluate your dryer. The tools you need to clean it are as follows:
- A vacuum with a long hose attachment.
- Dryer vent brush kit.
- UL listed metal foil duct tape
Here are 4 steps to cleaning your dryer:
1. Remove the lint trap filter and make sure it’s completely cleaned off. You want to make sure you’re cleaning the filter after every load to help prevent lint build up.
2. Vacuum the space that houses the lint trap filter. The filter doesn’t capture all of the particles, and this is the second place the lint will begin to accumulate.
3. Disconnect the dryer duct and clean out the duct with a long hose from a vacuum. You can also use a duct brush to help you complete a more thorough job.
4. Make sure the duct is connected properly. You don’t want it cinched in any part of the duct, to prevent crevices where the lint can get stuck.
No one knows the value your home has as much as this real estate pro, keep it protected by taking some simple cautionary steps to keep everything in running order. And if you’re in need of a brand new laundry room altogether, don’t forget to give me a call.